The Eastern Cape Health Department has confirmed about 120 school children were admitted to a hospital on Thursday after they complained of food-poisoning symptoms. Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the pupils, aged 8 to 19, experienced stomach ache, vomiting, and itchiness. Fifty of them are in a stable condition at Frontier Hospital in Komani.
“The last one arrived just after six in the evening in a condition presenting with vomiting. She had to be admitted to the ICU. By midnight she was reportedly responding to treatment. She is in a stable condition,” Kupelo said.
Kupelo said the children were eating different food items when they started feeling unwell. “The children were reportedly served various food items, including fizzy drinks and snacks. They call it amashwam-sham and muffins. Children from another school have also complained about being sick.
“We’ve dispatched emergency vehicles again this morning to another school where children [have] reportedly falling sick. Three of them have already been sent to the hospital. The details around the latest incident are still sketchy.
“We’re still trying to get the numbers and the symptoms they may be presenting with,” Kupelo said.
He said health and environmental officers were “taking samples for further testing”, while the hospital had also taken samples for toxicity tests.
Last week, tragedy struck Onkgopotse Tiro Primary School after a Grade 3 boy died from alleged food poisoning. The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) confirmed the pupil died at the Tshepisong Clinic.
It comes amid increasing incidents of food poisoning among school children, and a focus on expired foods and snacks at spaza shops. According to the department, two Grade 3 boys from the school complained of stomach cramps in class and were rushed to the clinic. The pupils had allegedly bought and consumed a pack of biscuits from a local spaza shop in the area, according to information at the department’s disposal.