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‘Milk poisoning’ hits more than 80 pupils

Sta Catalina PNP photo

More than 80 pupils of at least two hinterland elementary schools in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, were hit with gastroenteritis secondary to suspected food poisoning after consuming fresh milk on Thursday, Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion said Friday, May 20.

She said 57 pupils were admitted to the Bayawan District Hospital, while 25 were treated at the Sta. Catalina rural health unit and have already been discharged.

“The numbers do not include those who might have mild symptoms and are undergoing treatment at home,” she said.

Estacion said she is still verifying reports that some of the learners were brought to a private hospital in Dumaguete City.

The pupils drank the milk on Thursday, which was delivered to the schools on Wednesday, she said.

The milk was reported to be part of a Department of Education Bayawan Division feeding program, she said.

The milk bottles had no labels and they are still waiting for the official statement from the DepEd division, Estacion said.

“I have already ordered my staff to conduct an investigation and submit an incident report to my office,” Estacion said.

“We will have to determine the circumstances surrounding the feeding program, such as the condition of the milk when it was distributed, and handling and processing,” she said.

The Provincial Health Office has sent intravenous fluids and medication to Bayawan City and Sta. Catalina.

The Sta. Catalina police said the milk poisoning report at the town’s elementary schools was received by their station at 12:18 a.m. Friday.

Emily Colasisang, Sta. Catalina District 2 Supervisor, disclosed that they received fresh milk from the Division Office of Negros Oriental in relation to their milk feeding program, the initial police investigation report said.

After consuming the fresh milk, on the evening of May 19, some pupils of Sitio Tubod, Sitio Kangabok, and Proper Nagbinlod in Brgy. Nagbinlod and of Brgy. Alangilan in Sta. Catalina started vomiting prompting the parents and the teachers to bring them to the Bayawan City District Hospital, the police said.

The milk bottles had no labels or any information regarding the supplier, the report added.*

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