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The Delight Restaurant and BBQ, in Markham, Ont., on Aug. 29.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

A plant-based toxin is suspected of sickening a dozen diners – sending four to intensive care – after they ate a restaurant in Markham, Ont., the region’s top doctor said Tuesday as the local public health unit investigated what happened.

Dr. Barry Pakes told local media that the toxin aconite – found in herbs, roots or a flower – is suspected to be involved. He said York Region Public Health has no reason to think diners were intentionally given the toxin.

Pakes said 12 people sought medical attention and four were in intensive care but appeared to be improving.

The health unit said Monday it was probing what took place at Delight Restaurant & BBQ over the weekend, noting the restaurant had since been closed.

Multiple people hospitalized following possible poisoning at Markham restaurant

Anyone who ate at the restaurant on Saturday or Sunday – including those who had dine-in, takeout, delivery and leftovers – and is feeling unwell is advised to seek medical attention.

The health unit said the restaurant was co-operating with the investigation.

Audrey Champoux, press secretary for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino’s office, said the minister was aware of the “concerning reports of a suspected food borne poisoning” in Markham.

“We continue to monitor for details as they are developing. We’d like to wish a speedy recovery to show who were affected and fell ill,” Champoux wrote in a statement.

An intensive care physician at a Toronto hospital said a notice about diners falling ill after eating at the restaurant had been circulating among the region’s ICU community.

The notice was shared among those who work at ICUs in the Greater Toronto Area, Dr. Michael Warner of Michael Garron Hospital said on Twitter.

York Regional Police said they were “made aware of an incident on Sunday” in Markham, but directed questions to the local public health unit.

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