70 students taken ill with suspected food poisoning
27 admitted to medical college hospital; school mess closed down
About 70 students of G. V. Raja Sports School at Mailam, Thiruvananthapuram, were taken ill and 27 of them admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here since the early hours on Saturday following suspected food poisoning.
The general condition of the students currently under treatment in the wards is satisfactory, MCH authorities said.
Four of the affected students have been admitted to the Peroorkada government hospital. Some students have been kept under observation there while several others were sent back after observation as their condition was satisfactory
Following the directive of the Designated Officer of Food Safety, a special squad of food safety officials from the district inspected the school mess and after collecting samples of the food items to be sent for lab analysis, ordered that the mess be closed down temporarily.
Director of Public Instruction K. V. Mohankumar, in a statement here, said that the school will remain closed till August 3 as the food safety wing has instructed that the mess be closed temporarily.
About 13 students had been first brought to the MCH at 12.15 a.m. on Saturday with symptoms of food poisoning, including stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. Their blood samples have been sent for analysis in the lab. Microbiology analysis of stool samples is also awaited to determine the nature of the organism which could have caused the food poisoning.
More students were brought in by noon and in the evening.
As of now, 26 students are in various wards in the MCH while a 12-year-old has been admitted to the SAT hospital.
The district medical officer said that the students had consumed only food prepared in the hostel mess. Those who ate lunch as well as those who ate dinner on Friday seemed to have been affected. Only children whose symptoms seemed to be aggravated were sent to the MCH. Though the school had over 350 students, only 70 seemed to have been affected.
The Food Safety wing has sent the samples of food samples collected from the school mess to the Government Analysis Lab. Officials also took statements from the affected students as well as the doctors treating them. Health Minister K. K. Shylaja has asked the Commissioner of Food Safety to enquire into the circumstances at G.V. Raja Sports school which led to the food poisoning incident and to submit a report. She also directed the Medical College hospital Superintendent to ensure that the children were given the necessary care and facilities
The health condition of the children of G.V. Raja Sports School who were hospitalised following food poisoning was satisfactory and they would be discharged soon, a statement issued by the office of Minister for Sports E. P. Jayarajan said.
The Sports Director, the Director of Public Instruction and Food Safety officials had earlier visited the school hostel and the mess. Senior Sports and Education department officials also visited the students in the hospital
Meanwhile, the district unit of the CPI(M) alleged that the children at the G.V. Raja Sports School were not being given good and safe food.
It was also not given in a hygienic environment. Though the hostel mess is in the name of Kudumbasree, the actual running of the mess was by another individual.
The authorities should immediately conduct a detailed inquiry into all aspects and ensure that the children were given good food cooked in hygienic conditions, the district secretary of CPI(M), Anavoor Nagappan, said after visiting the students at MCH.
Food Safety wing has sent food for analysis
Condition of hospitalised students satisfactory