MOH, AVA investigating after 14 children fall ill following lunch at Toa Payoh Sparkletots

14 children from Sparkletots pre-school at Toa Payoh West fell ill after consuming lunch on Feb 1, 2019. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - A Friday (Feb 1) lunch at a Toa Payoh pre-school left 14 children vomiting and having diarrhoea.

On Sunday, a spokesman from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said the AVA and the Ministry of Health (MOH) are investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis at the pre-school.

The spokesman added that as of Saturday, 14 of the cases were reported to have developed symptoms of gastroenteritis.

A spokesman for the PAP Community Foundation (PCF), which manages the Sparkletots pre-school at Toa Payoh West, said that about 40 pre-schoolers ate the same lunch, which started at around 11.15am.

The affected children, aged between three and six, started vomiting from about 3.30pm on Friday. None have been hospitalised.

When contacted, PCF corporate affairs manager Samuel Ng told The Straits Times that parents of the affected children were informed as soon as possible.

"We remain in close contact with the affected children's parents and will monitor the situation," he said.

Speaking to Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao, a parent who did not wish to be named said he was informed about the incident at about 5pm on Friday. His daughter had vomited thrice by then.

"My daughter vomited five more times at the clinic and when she returned home. The school should have contacted us immediately, and not waited for two hours," he said.

Mr Ng explained that Toa Payoh West Sparkletots had engaged a caterer since Nov 15 last year, after the in-house cook resigned.

PCF did not disclose the name of the caterer.

He added that the matter has been reported to the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and MOH.

An ECDA spokesperson told ST on Monday that they are currently working with MOH and the relevant agencies on the case. The 14 affected children have sought medical attention and are currently resting at home, and no staff members have been reported to be affected, the spokesperson added.

"We are working with the operator to ensure the wellbeing of affected children," the agency said.

Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.

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