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Another poisoning case? Squash patty downs 57 in Sultan Kudarat

Local News • 00:20 AM Sat Jul 18, 2015
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Emily Daban, Edwin Fernandez and Ferdinandh Cabrera
Senior Insp. Eisbon Llamanzares speaking to DXOM-AM Radyo Bida.

ESPERANZA, Sultan Kudarat -- Health authorities in Sultan Kudarat province are now determining if the squash patty taken by students of a public school here caused the severe abdominal pain of 57 pupils Thursday, police said today.At the same time, police and education officials were searching for two canteen operatorswho were the source of squash patty. At past 9 a.m. Thursday, 57 Grades 4, 5 and 6 pupils of Ala Elementay School in Barangay Ala, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat complained of bowel disorders and severe abdominal pain.Interviewed by DXOM-AM Radyo Bida Koronadal,Senior Insp. Eisbo Llamanzares, Esperanza police chief, said the 57 pupils of Ala Elementary School complained of severe stomach pain and vowel disorders after taking squash patty” sold in school canteen. We suspect it could be food poisoning because they complained of abdominal pain and vomited, these are indicators of food poisoning,” Llamanzares said. But we are not concluding as of yet, we want medical professionals to determine what triggered the pupils' complaints, he added.Samples of squash patty” have been sent to the provincial health office for laboratory tests.The victims were all rushed to various hospitals. Of the 57, only one student left at the Tamondong Hospital in Esperanza town.Llamanzares said squash patty,” a fried squash with flour known in the community as okoy,” is a regular food sold outside the school campus.Following theEsperanza incident, Llamanzares appealed to parents to remind school children to avoid buying street foods which have unknown sources and could have been prepared improperly.Princes Angel, Grade 4 pupil of Ala Elementary School, said she and her classmate bought the squash patty outside the school compound during recess time.She recalled that minutes after eating the squash patty, she suffered severe stomach pain. She almost collapse in school.Helena, Angel's classmate, also suffered the same pain. Helena was discharged Thursday afternoon after she recovered.But here parents rushed her back to the provincial health facility when she complained of abdominal pain anew.Health officials refused to confirm food poisoning case, saying samples are still under laboratory examination.Genelyn, Angel's mother, said she personally prepared her child's baon following the food poisoning scare that hit Mindanao. I did not expect Angel to buy more food for her merienda because I prepared her baon, the mother added. I bought the okoy from the school canteen, the taste was not good but I ate it anyway, Angel said. I regularly buy from the school canteen. While in the ambulance, Angel told me she can't take the pain anymore and went unconscious, Genelyn said. After 10 minutes, more children arrived complaining of stomach pain, the mother said.Health authorities in South Cotabato Friday said laboratory tests found the pastil taken by 15 students and two teachers of a state college was contaminated with Bacillus cereus. The bacteria was found in the discharges of students and teachers of Sultan Kudarat State University - Lutayan campus who complained of abdominal disorder on Wednesday. Bacillus cerues, an endemic, soil-dwelling, Gram-positive, rod-shaped, motile, beta hemolytic bacterium, the Wikipedia said.It is the cause of fried rice syndrome , as the bacteria are classically contracted from fried rice dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for hours.The sources of contamination was believed to be the pastil, a Muslim dish made of steamed rice topped with shredded chicken adobo flakes, that the students took for lunch.Dr. Ala Baby Vingno, South Cotabato epidemiologist, said the samples taken from the patients were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila for further laboratory tests.Most of the students and teachers have already been discharged by the provincial hospital after they have recovered and rehydrated.

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