Philippines: Egg sandwiches could have caused food poisoning

By Allison Lopez, Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:20:00 09/26/2008

Source of Article:

MANILA, Philippines – Salmonella could have caused the suspected food poisoning of 112 pupils of the Jose Corazon de Jesus Elementary School in Tondo, Manila.

Dr. Eric Tayag, chief of the Department of Health’s National Epidemiology Center, said this was the initial finding of the department.

Tayag said salmonella enteritidis was found in stools of the children who had diarrhea and threw up some 12 hours after eating canteen food.

“Salmonella is usually found in contaminated eggs, and the canteen served scrambled egg sandwiches,” Tayag said in a text message to Inquirer. But he stressed the investigation was not yet over.

The children were confined at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and the San Lazaro Hospital a day or two after eating egg sandwiches, hotdogs and mais con yelo (corn kernels in milk) prepared by their canteen on Friday.

School principal Trinidad Galang said only two students remained in the hospital.

Dr. Yolanda Oliveros, director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said 18 out of 30 samples tested positive for salmonella contamination.

Galang welcomed the DOH investigation that is looking into the school’s supplies of eggs, ice and bread.

“They also got water samples from our faucets twice. It was explained to me that salmonella could be present in food and water,” she told the Inquirer.

Galang said their canteen, which would remain closed until the DOH has completed its investigation, followed sanitary requirements, adding that she personally monitored its operations that day.

Some of the students treated for amoebiasis and gastroenteritis, she said, already had “heavy bacteria” contamination, indicating that the infection could have been caused by food or water from their own homes.

The DOH obtained water samples from areas near Canal de la Reina Regente, where Galang said some pupils lived.

She added the incident should serve as a reminder to everyone, especially parents, to be careful in handling food and beverage.

Meanwhile, Maynilad Water Services Inc. said Thursday it was cleared by the DOH in the food poisoning incident.

The company said laboratory tests conducted by its central laboratory and the Manila health department showed that the school’s water supply was negative for any kind of bacteria.

It added that the water was also found to have “residual chlorine well above the 1.00 mg/liter standard for drinking water.”

Maynilad said it regularly conducted sampling of its water in over 800 points to make sure its water was safe and clean.



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