Philippines: DoH eyes salmonella in Tondo food poisoning

By Allison Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:14:00 09/25/2008


Source of Article:

MANILA, Philippines -- Salmonella could be the reason for the alleged food poisoning of 112 pupils from the Jose Corazon de Jesus Elementary School in Tondo, Manila, initial findings of the Department of Health (DoH) indicated.

Dr. Eric Tayag, chief of the DoH's national epidemiology center, said salmonella enteritidis was discovered from the stool of the children who suffered diarrhea and vomiting about 12 hours after eating canteen food.

"Salmonella is usually found in contaminated egg, and the canteen served scrambled egg sandwich. The investigation, however, is not yet complete," he said in a text message.

The students, who ranged from Grades 1-5, were confined at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and San Lazaro Hospital a day or two after eating egg sandwiches, hotdogs and mais con yelo (sweet corn in ice) prepared by their canteen Friday.

Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said 18 of 30 samples tested positive for salmonella, a microorganism that grows on contaminated food.

School principal Trinidad Galang said only two students remain confined at San Lazaro since they still complained of stomach pains, while the rest have already gone to school or recuperated at home.

She said she welcomed the DoH probe into the incident, adding the health department is also investigating their suppliers of eggs, ice and bread.
"They also got water samples from our faucets twice. It was explained to me that salmonella can be present in food and water," she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of

Galang maintained their canteen observed sanitary requirements and that she personally monitored its operations that day.

Some of the students who were treated for amoebiasis and gastroenteritis, she added, already had "heavy bacteria" -- indicating the infection may have been due to food or water in their own homes.

The DoH has obtained water samples from the clustered areas near Canal de la Reina Regente, where Galang said some pupils resided.

"We will wait for the findings of the DoH to make sure what really made the students sick. But this incident should serve as a wake-up call to everyone, especially parents, as to the food they are giving their children," she said.

The school canteen will remain closed pending recommendations from health officials, she said.


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