62 suffer from bouts of vomiting at Oasis Primary School

The school has suspended mass gathering of pupils for the time being to "reduce any potential spread within the school community". Daily temperature-taking is also conducted in the classrooms.
The school has suspended mass gathering of pupils for the time being to "reduce any potential spread within the school community". Daily temperature-taking is also conducted in the classrooms.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Sixty-two people suffered from bouts of vomiting at Oasis Primary School, with the school temporarily suspending mass gathering of pupils to reduce further spread of illness within the school community.

All the affected pupils have recovered and are back in school, school principal Mrs Ong-Chew Lu See told The Straits Times on Tuesday (Jan 17).

She said the school on Jan 6 found that some pupils who were absent from school "had exhibited symptoms of vomiting".

"We immediately took preemptive steps to disinfect the school premises on top of the regular cleaning," she said. "At the same time, we engaged the assistance of the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), and Public Utilities Board (PUB) to investigate the cause."

Mrs Ong-Chew said staff at the school have been briefed to look out for any pupils who might be unwell, while pupils have been reminded to inform their teachers immediately if they feel unwell.

The school has suspended mass gathering of pupils for the time being to "reduce any potential spread within the school community". Daily temperature-taking is also conducted in the classrooms.

In a joint reply, MOH, NEA, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and PUB told The Straits Times that 62 people from Oasis Primary School were affected by bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea.

"Most of them sought outpatient treatment and have since recovered. Two were hospitalised for dehydration but were discharged the following day. There have not been further cases since Jan 14," said the agencies in their statement.

No hygiene lapses were detected at the school canteen during an inspection on Jan 9, the statement said.

"All the food handlers working at the school canteen have attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene Course (BFHC), and none were reported to be sick prior to the incident," it added. 

Food handlers underwent stool screening as part of investigations.

Food samples have also been collected from Oasis Primary School, and checks will be conducted on the suppliers of food ingredients. Laboratory tests are ongoing. 

PUB conducted water quality tests on water samples collected from Oasis Primary School on Jan 7, and found that the water quality met World Health Organisation Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality and is safe for drinking.

Investigations by MOH, NEA and AVA are ongoing.

A mother of an affected pupil, who declined to be named, told Lianhe Wanbao in a report on Tuesday that her son fell sick on the fourth day of school.

The boy, who is in Primary 1, started vomiting and had diarrhoea. He also had a fever, said his mother.

A father of another affected pupil, who also declined to be named, said his daughter suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea on the Friday of the first week of school.

However, she recovered by the following Monday.

Some parents found out about the spate of vomiting through their Facebook or WhatsApp chat groups.