59 people hit by food poisoning at 2 welfare homes in Pelangi Village

Out of 59 gastroenteritis cases, 22 were from Angsana Home while 37 were from Banyan Home. Both homes are located in Pelangi Village, a social welfare complex in Buangkok. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The authorities are investigating after 59 people fell ill from eating food at two homes at Pelangi Village, a social welfare complex in Buangkok.

In a joint statement on Wednesday (May 22), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said there were 22 cases of gastroenteritis at Angsana Home and 37 at Banyan Home as of noon on Monday.

All 59 experienced symptoms from May 14 to May 18, the statement said.

Eleven of those affected had to be hospitalised. While three of them have been discharged, the rest remain in hospital and in stable condition.

MOH and SFA, in their statement, said:"Those affected had consumed food from the homes' in-house kitchen, which has been instructed to cease operations while the investigation is ongoing."

Gastroenteritis can lead to diarrhoea or vomiting, and is caused by viruses, bacteria or bacterial toxins.

It can be a result of consuming contaminated food, having direct contact with infected people, or touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated, and then touching the mouth without first washing one's hands.

Those who are affected will need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and seek medical attention if necessary.

MOH and SFA said the food supply chain is extensive, and food can be contaminated at any point in time.

They added: "A multi-pronged approach incorporating good food hygiene and safety processes, as well as infection prevention and control practices can greatly reduce the incidence of gastroenteritis when adopted by all key stakeholders, including the industry and public."

When contacted, both Banyan Home and Angsana Home declined to comment.

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