Concern over increase in learner food poisoning cases

todayOctober 27, 2023 33

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More incidents of suspected food poisoning have come up in the country, this time in the Eastern Cape.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health has reported that the number of learners that have been hospitalised has now increased to 143.

A further 23 learners from a third school in Mlungisi township in Komani were rushed to Frontier Hospital on Friday morning.

The department says the learners suffered from abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, itchiness, high temperature as well as shortness of breath.

This latest incident comes after 120 learners were hospitalised, also in Komani yesterday. The affected pupils are aged between eight and 15.

At least 30 children remain in hospital and one learner is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

More cases were then reported from another school around Komani, where the pupils were said to have suffered from an alleged foodborne disease.

Departmental spokesperson, Dr Sizwe Kupelo, says tests are being conducted to determine the exact cause of the illness.


Kupelo says the pupils bought muffins, scones and frozen drinks from a hawker.

He says investigations into the cases are continuing.

”The advice from the department to the public is always take extra precautions around food handling and ensure that they look at expiry dates to ensure that they consume safe food.”

Food poisoning incidents have also rocked Gauteng, where young people have either landed up in hospital or died.

The National Department of Health has expressed concern over the cases that have gripped the nation with fear.

Departmental spokesperson, Foster Mohale, says more needs to be done to ensure that food is safe for consumption.

“As the department of health we are concerned about the increasing cases of food poisoning around the country, and we call upon all leaders of society to join hands with government to report any food outlet or people selling counterfeit, expired food items or any food whose package has been tempered with. This is a society issues and we need all hands on deck to prevent another pandemic. We also urge those preparing food for mass serving, include for school learners to maintain high level of hygiene to prevent food contamination.”


Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris

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