Food poisoning downs scores in MisOr village

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

AN EXUBERANT atmosphere in a village in a Misamis Oriental town which celebrated its 48th founding anniversary Monday turned tragic when more than a hundred residents ended in hospitals due to a suspected food poisoning.

As of Monday, around 130 victims from barangay San Vicente in Medina town have been confined at various government and private medical facilities in the eastern portions of the province after experiencing gastrointestinal disorder and persistent vomiting possibly caused by food poisoning.

Authorities said the victims consumed for lunch rice, menudo, bihon and beefsteak packed in styrofoam boxes and cellophane pouches during the celebration.


Dr. Bebina Casiño, provincial coordinator of the health care team in Misamis Oriental, said the number of victims may be increased or reduced once their team submits its report.

In a radio interview, Teresita Bayhon, nurse at one of the hospitals, said one of the victims told her they still ate the lunch even when they noticed the food’s "foul smell."

Bayhon noted that most victims are children.

In an interview with Testigo of GMA Northern Mindanao, San Vicente chair Allan Ignalib said the food was packed while it was still hot at around 11 p.m. Sunday.

Around 2 p.m. Monday, patients started to pour into the hospital complaining they were not feeling well, said Kairess Mofar, attending nurse at Misamis Oriental Provincial Hospital (MOPH) in Gingoog City.

The MOPH admitted 119 patients complaining of gastrointestinal disorder.

Dr. Nafisah Langilao, physician at MOPH, said that packed lunch must be consumed not more than two to six hours.

Upon knowing the incident, Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano immediately dispatched the health care team of the province to proceed to the hospitals and attend to the medical needs of the victims.

Casiño furthered they had prepared all the necessary medicines the victims might need.

The province assured the victims that they would shoulder all their hospital expenses.

"[We] will take care of all their hospitalization and medical needs. This means zero billing for the victims once they are discharged," Emano said in a statement.

Medina Mayor Ken Uyguangco said in a TV Patrol report that there's no one to be blamed for the incident.

However, the complaints that some hospitals were asking P300 as admission down payment will be investigated.

Ignalib also apologized for his office's lapses with regard to sanitation concerns in preparing the food.

At press time, there were some 53 patients who are still confined.

Some victims have been brought to Balingasag District Hospital, Talisayan Hospital, Bagong Lipunan Hospital, Medina Hospital, Magsaysay Hospital and Gingoog Sanitarium Hospital.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 20, 2014.

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