05/08/2012 05:17 EDT | Updated 07/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Bacteria believed to have made dozens sick after roast beef dinner in P.E.I.

CHARLOTTETOWN - Health officials in P.E.I. say they have received the results of food samples taken after a roast beef dinner left more than 200 people ill.

The chief public health office says 209 cases of the gastrointestinal illness have been reported since the 500 meals were sold April 28 as part of a church fundraiser in Malpeque.

People complained of diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea after eating the dinner, which was prepared by volunteers of the Princetown United Church.

Officials say test results show the most likely cause of the illness is a bacteria known as Clostridium perfringens.

They say the bacteria is sometimes found in beef and can produce a toxin in a person's intestinal tract when the meat is not kept at the proper temperature after cooking.

Officials say antibiotics are not recommended for treatment and most people who fall ill recover within 24 hours, though some symptoms can last for up to two weeks.