Suspected food poisoning downs 31 in Oro

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

FOR eating hamburger, 31 residents of Zone 9 in Barangay Bonbon experienced gastrointestinal disorder last Saturday, suspected to be food poisoning by a public hospital official.

The snack items, bought from a burger stall, were given to the residents by a group of nursing students coming from a university in the city.

The distribution of the food has been a regular activity by the university’s students so none of the recipients doubted the food might have been contaminated.


Resident Marivic Altiza said they experienced stomach pain Sunday, a day after they ate the burger.

“Our stomachs were really painful. It feels like there was a wringing sensation inside our stomachs. I really didn’t understand what I felt,” Altiza said.

Her son, Junjun, ate the bun, and she ate the egg and patty afterwards. He also experienced constant tummy aches. Both went through dehydration and fever.

“We bought medicines to ease the stomach pains but they were futile. We always go to the bathroom and relieve our bowels. That was until today,” she said.

Flora Ortega, another patient and a neighbor of Altiza, said she and her two children also experienced excess vomiting.

“Whenever we eat something because we are starving, minutes later we puke. Even the medicines we took, we just vomit them,” Ortega said.

Most of the people who were suspected to have been food-poisoned were kids since they were the prime beneficiaries of the burgers.

Upon the recommendation of the community physician, those who ate the burger were brought to the J.R. Borja General Hospital (JRBGH) on Wednesday.

Residents told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro the burgers were given to them as a birthday treat by one of the students.

Rolando Rabara Jr., JRBGH health emergency management staff coordinator, said that in the official listing of the patients, 27 were children aged 1 to 14, while four were adults.

“The patients were sorted out to urgent, emergent and non-urgent. Majority of them were non-urgent so there is really nothing to fret,” Rabara said.

However, a one-year-old patient has been identified to be moderately dehydrated and is currently being observed at the emergency room, while the rest were discharged from the hospital at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Rabara said that since the incident happened last Saturday, the consumed food was no longer available for a sampling.

“They could have brought the leftovers so that we can have an evidence and to make further sampling,” he said.

A swabbing of the rectum of the patients was done by the Department of Health on Wednesday.

Bonbon village chief Jackie Lynn Merto said the barangay’s focus is on the residents’ health first.

Merto will call for a meeting with the affected residents to decide what course of action they will take following the incident.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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