Milk from school feeding program downs 70 pupils in NegOr town

More than 70 grade school learners from at least two hinterland elementary schools in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental are being treated for gastroenteritis secondary to suspected food poisoning after consuming fresh milk on Thursday.

Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion on Friday told the Philippine News Agency that the students were brought to the Bayawan District Hospital in Bayawan City and a treatment facility in Sta. Catalina late Thursday night after they vomited and experienced stomach pain.

Initial reports said the learners are from the elementary schools in Barangay Nagbinlod proper and Sitio Avocado of the same village.

Estacion said 47 were admitted to the Bayawan District Hospital while 25 were treated in Sta. Catalina, based on reports reaching her office.

"The numbers do not include those who might have mild symptoms and are undergoing self-treatment at home or additional hospital admissions today," she added.

“I have already ordered my staff to conduct an investigation in Nagbinlod and submit an incident report to my office as it seems there are other schools in the area that are in a similar situation,” Estacion said in mixed English and Cebuano.

Earlier on Thursday, the learners received bottles of fresh milk as part of the feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

A report from the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office said the fresh milk bottles had no label or any information regarding the supplier.

It added that Emily Colasisang, district supervisor of DepEd District 2, received fresh milk from the division office of Negros Oriental for their milk feeding program.

Estacion said the consumption of fresh milk was the common factor among all the learners that came down with the symptoms.

“We will have to determine the circumstances surrounding the feeding program, such as the condition of the milk when it was distributed, and handling and processing,” she said.

The Provincial Health Office has sent intravenous fluids and medication to Bayawan City and Sta. Catalina.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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