A staggering 250 Queensland school principals have food poisoning after an education conference

Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Salmonella poisoning has left 24 people in hospital and 250 with gastro-intestinal problems after a school principals conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week.

Symptoms may take up to five days to emerge, meaning more people could fall ill.

Queensland Health is continuing to investigate the source of the outbreak after 1400 people attended the conference last Thursday and Friday.

Chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said the illness can’t be treated.

“There’s no antibiotics, there’s nothing like that. You really need supportive care and to remain hydrated,” she said.

The 24 people admitted to hospital are suffering from vomiting, dehydration and fever.

A list of where the victims in outbreak of food poisoning in Queensland live. Source: Queensland Health

It’s believed to be the second worst outbreak in the state’s history. The menu included chicken curry, vegetables, rice and pastry.

Anyone who attended the conference February 26-27 and feels unwell, should call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

This latest outbreak tops the 2013 salmonella poisoning at a Melbourne Cup luncheon by a Brisbane caterer. Among those who fell ill was 11 staff from the Queensland premier’s department. The company blamed eggs used in mayonnaise for the outbreak.

Salmonella infection rates in Australia have risen almost 80% in the past 20 years, with the number nearly doubling over the past decade to almost 13,000 cases in 2013.

The federal Department of Health estimates that nearly one in four people will suffer from a food-bourne illness, costing the economy $1.25 billion.

Two other major salmonella outbreaks occurred in Brisbane in January, with 130 falling ill and dozens hospitalised after eating at a Chinese restaurant in the outer suburb of Springwood between January 3 and 5. Deep-fried ice cream was blamed.

A few weeks later dozens more fell ill after people bought sushi rolls in Asian grocery stores made by a southern Brisbane wholesaler.

This latest food scare follows in the wake of a recent outbreak of Hepatitis A from imported frozen berries in Australia.

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