At least 44 people, including 25 children were sickened with Bacillus cereus after eating fried rice at an Ottawa Chinese restaurant, according to a Daily Courier report. 

Prawn fried rice shrimp bowls Image/Jon Sullivan
Prawn fried rice shrimp bowls
Image/Jon Sullivan

Ottawa Public Health says lab tests found the bacteria in a fried rice dish served to the children at  Lotus Chinese Take-Out (on Fallowfield Road.) At least six of the kids were hospitalized for their illness.

Bacillus cereus is a well recognized and common cause of food poisoning (bacterial intoxication or toxin-mediated infection) worldwide.  It is commonly found in low levels in raw, dried and processed foods.  The bacterium causes two types of toxins: a diarrheal type and a vomiting type.

The diarrheal type of this food poisoning is usually associated with meats, milk and vegetables. The onset for the disease is from 8-16 hours and it lasts 12 to 14 hours.

The vomiting type of this food poisoning is due to rice, grains, cereals and other starchy foods. The onset is quite rapid (30 minutes to 6 hours) and usually lasts a day or so. This type is frequently associated with outbreaks due to cooked rice held at room temperature.

This type of food poisoning is rarely fatal and cannot be transmitted from person to person. Prevention is properly cooking of food, and if not consumed, rapid cooling prior to storage. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page