Food poisoning: shigella found in samples



Health officials have found the presence of shigella sonnei bacteria in the stool samples collected from three children who were hospitalised after being taken ill after consuming shawarma from an eatery at Cheruvathur in Kasaragod.

Officials had sent the samples of children, who were hospitalised with vomiting and diarrhoea, for testing to the Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode.

Sudeep, Superintendent, Kannur Government Medical College Hospital (KGMCH), says the bacteria enter human body through contaminated water and food, and cause shigellosis. This can be from watery food such as salad, mayonnaise made from eggs, and partially cooked shawarma.

A 16-year-old girl, Devananda, died and 31 others are undergoing treatment for food poisoning after they ate shawarma from a hotel at Cheruvathur on Friday.

The test results of the samples taken from Devananda and six other children admitted to the KGMCH, are yet to be received.

Meanwhile, the Health department initiated steps to collect water samples from the shop and nearby areas to identify the presence of shigella bacteria. They will also investigate the source from where the meat was procured and stuffed for making shawarma.

Meanwhile, officials said the condition of the children hospitalised in Kasaragod and at the KGMCH was stable. Of the three children in the intensive care unit at the KGMCH, two were shifted to wards on Tuesday. The other child would be shifted on Wednesday.

The rest of the children were in observation and would be in the hospital for at least four more days to ensure there total recovery.

The police on Tuesday arrested one more person in connection with the incident. The Chandera police arrested Ahamed, a native of Padanna, the manager of the eatery from Kanhangad. Earlier, two persons, Mulloli Anasgar, managing partner of the eatery, a native of Mangaluru, and Sandesh Rai, a native of Nepal, who prepared the dish at the shop, were arrested in the case.

Owner of the eatery, P.V. Kunhammad, who is working abroad, has been included as the fourth accused. The police have decided to issue a lookout notice against him.

The Food Safety Department has sent a report to the Food Safety Commissioner and the District Collector on the episode. The eatery had no licence. Water and food samples collected from the shop will be sent for lab analysis.

Agitated over the death of the girl, people had staged protests in front of the shop. Authorities had sealed the shop on Sunday. The vehicle of the shop was burnt down by unidentified persons.


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