On Friday, December 5, more than 100 people gathered at Nackawic Community Hall for a turkey dinner sponsored by a local church. In the hours following the traditional meal of turkey, vegetables, gravy and pies, dozens of those attendants fell ill. About 30 people reported signs of gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
On Monday morning, 87-year-old Bessie Scott died. Early autopsy reports suggest a gastrointestinal illness could be to blame, although the health department is still investigating.
Public health officials have taken samples of the dinner’s leftovers and are trying to determine the exact cause of the infections.
“All the types of food that were served, how those foods were prepared, the sources of each of those foods, where they came from in terms of grocery stores versus home-made versus…all of those elements are being looked at,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, told CTVNews.