Singapore 131 kids including teachers fall sick after food-poisoning incident at camp

Children Camp
Representational picture Pixabay

FoodTalks Caterer and Manufacturer is under investigation after 131 people, including kindergarten pupils and teachers at kid's camp fell ill due to the consumption of food prepared by the caterer on Monday, November 26. This is the third case of mass food poisoning this month.

National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a joint statement, published on Tuesday, November 27 that they are investigating the case an outbreak of gastroenteritis "traced to the consumption of food" prepared by FoodTalks, which is located at Shimei East Kitchen along Bedok North Street 5.

The kid's camp was held by Learning Horizon, which is a subsidiary of global childcare chain Busy Bees. The consumption of the food, which was prepared by FoodTalks. However, it was confirmed that none of the victims was taken to the hospital.

As part of the inspection in Bedok, the authorities took the food and the environment samples for testing. They also added that the food handlers being sent for stool screening.

Busy Bees Singapore said in a statement on Tuesday that soon after the outbreak the camp was suspended. They also stated, "We are aware of a food safety incident affecting some of our K2 children and teachers, who felt unwell after consuming food prepared by an external caterer at a camp yesterday."

"Upon learning of this, we immediately suspended the camp and reported the incident to the Ministry of Health, NEA and ECDA (Early Childhood Development Agency), with whom we will continue to cooperate with to determine the cause," they further added.

Food-poisoning incidents this month

This is the third case of food poisoning that took place in the month of November. The first incident happened when almost 72 people fell sick after consuming food from Spize's River Vally outlet. The food was prepared for Deepavali celebration, which was organized by the security company Brink's Singapore and catered by Spize. A 38-year-old male who was an auxiliary police officer died after the incident. MOH, NEA and AVA suspended the license of the restaurant due to hygiene-related issues.

Soon after the first case, NEA stated that they suspended the licence of TungLok Catering at Max Atria @ Singapore Expo after 190 people became sick. But, the authorities stated that none of those victims was taken to the hospital.

What is Gastroenteritis: Treatment

This disease also known a 'Stomach Flu,' which is an intestinal infection marked by diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.

As per Singapore General Hospital-

The mainstay of therapy is adequate hydration. The overwhelming majority of adults have mild diarrhoea that will not lead to dehydration provided adequate fluids is taken. Hydration can be achieved by drinking boiled barley or rice water with the sprinkle of salt. An easier way is to consume commercially available oral rehydration salts in tablets or sachets form ( Rehidrat, Dioralyte ). These tablets can be drunk after reconstitution in boiled water (Please read the manufacturer's instruction for methods of dilution).

Most people will find it more comfortable to rest the bowel for a few days by avoiding high fibre, high-fat foods.

Frequent feedings of fruit drinks, tea, de-fizzed carbonated beverages and soft easily digested foods ( eg. soups, crackers) are encouraged.

Antibiotics are indicated for those persons with high fever and prolonged diarrhoea. Antibiotics are used in diarrhoea due to invasive bacterial agents ( shigella, salmonella) as antibiotics are believed to reduce environmental contamination.

Antidiarrhoeal agents ( such as Lomotil) works by decreasing the bowel contraction and may be used to decrease the frequency of diarrhoea, the liquidity of stool and abdominal cramps. It should not be used if there is a high fever and blood is present in stool indicating severe large bowel inflammation. This drug should also be discontinued and medical advice should be sought if diarrhoea is worsening after a few days of therapy.

Avoidance of milk and milk products is recommended for the first few weeks to avoid worsening of the diarrhoea from lactase deficiency.

This article was first published on November 28, 2018