131 People, including K2 children and teachers, down with gastroenteritis after eating food from caterer

131 People, including K2 children and teachers, down with gastroenteritis after eating food from caterer

131 people have fallen ill with gastroenteritis in Singapore, after consuming food from a caterer. The victims include K2 children and teachers...

131 people have fallen ill with gastroenteritis in Singapore, after consuming food from a caterer.

This is the third big case of food poisoning reported in Singapore recently. The victims include K2 children and teachers, who were attending a learning camp organised by Busy Bees Asia.

131 people down with gastroenteritis in Singapore

In a joint statement, the National Environmental Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) revealed that the outbreak of gastroenteritis was traced to the consumption of food prepared by FoodTalks Caterer & Manufacturer, located at Shimei East Kitchen in Bedok, on 26 November 2018.

So far, 131 cases of gastroenteritis in Singapore have been linked to the incident. Thankfully, none of the victims have been hospitalised.

The MOH, NEA and AVA have inspected the caterer's premises. As part of the investigations, food handlers were sent for stool screening, and food and environmental samples were taken for testing.

Earlier, on 9 Nov 2018, a severe case of food poisoning in Singapore was reported. 81 people came down with gastroenteritis after eating bento boxes prepared by Spize restaurant (River Valley) for an event.

Sadly, father-of-2, Fadli Salleh, an officer with Sats, who was affected in the food poisoning scandal and admitted to ICU, passed away. 

On 23 November, 190 people also fell ill after eating food prepared by TungLok Catering at the Max Atria at Singapore Expo. 

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection of the gut (intestines). It causes diarrhoea and may also cause symptoms such as being sick (vomiting) and tummy (abdominal) pain. In most cases the infection clears within a few days, but sometimes it takes longer.

What causes gastroenteritis in children?

Gastroenteritis is usually caused by a virus, such as rotavirus or adenovirus. Rarely, it can be a bacterial infection too.

What are the signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis?

  • Diarrhoea (Runny, watery poo)
  • Vomiting
  • Tummy Pain
  • Fever

How does gastroenteritis spread?

  • Through direct contact with the infected person.
  • By touching infected surfaces.
  • Through improper hand washing.
  • By putting hands into mouth often.

How is gastroenteritis in children treated ?

Dehydration is a dangerous outcome of gastroenteritis. You can prevent this by:

  • Giving your child small quantities of fluids at frequent intervals. Drinking barley or rice water with a sprinkle of salt helps in hydration.
  • Avoid junk food and soft drinks.
  • If you are breastfeeding, keep doing so, at frequent intervals.
  • Avoid milk and dairy products to prevent worsening of diarrhoea.
  • Avoid coffee and tea as they can cause dehydration.

gastroenteritis in Singapore

Signs of dehydration

Watch for these warning signs:

  • dry mouth and tongue
  • sunken eyes
  • cold hands and feet
  • Unusually sleepy or inactive child
  • fewer wet diapers or not passing as much urine as usual

Any of the above signs signals an urgent visit to the doctor.

Other warning signs

Take your child to the doctor or hospital immediately if:

  • your child has vomiting and/or diarrhoea and is less than 6 months old – babies can become dehydrated and unwell quickly.
  • your child is drowsy and difficult to rouse.
  • the child has diarrhoea (8 to 10 watery motions in 1 day).
  • there is blood or mucus in your child's poo.
  • your child starts vomiting green fluid (bile).
  • your child develops severe stomach pains.
  • the child shows signs of dehydration.
  • your child's diarrhoea continues for more than 10 days.

Precautions that you need to take

  • Make hand washing a habit, especially after going to the toilet and after changing diapers.
  • Make sure the toilet is clean.
  • Isolate the infected child’s laundry and wash it with hot water.
  • Avoid sharing food and drinks.
  • If your child is affected, keep him/her away from school or kindergarten or daycare until the diarrhoea has cleared up.
  • Discourage your child from putting his hands into his mouth often.

(Source: The Straits Times, KidsHealth)

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