The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: 200 Teachers in Food Poisoning Scare

AT LEAST 195 teachers marking the recently concluded national examinations at Riviera High School were treated for suspected food poisoning after eating meals served at the school, health officials at the school clinic confirmed yesterday.

The health officials said the victims were treated after suffering symptoms like stomach-ache and diarrhoea.

Over 500 teachers are gathered at the school to mark national examinations.

One of the victims admitted at the school clinic but steadily recovering narrated the ordeal to The New Times:

"Yesterday (on Sunday) I woke up early, took breakfast before I started my routine work. After lunch we went out for a rest but when we came back after supper I felt stomach ache, then at night I developed a running stomach. I visited the toilet like four times," said the patient on condition of anonymity.

"I didn't eat anything outside and maybe the food from restaurant was contaminated," she added.

According to the source, the food provided included rice, chips, and meat.

However, nurses at the clinic said it was unlikely the teachers ate poisoned food.

"It is not food poisoning from the school. We all share the same dinning hall and it is so clean and safe. Those suffering might have eaten poisoned food outside, we are treating them and they are improving," said Venelande Mukantagazwa, a nurse.

Two of the three victims who were admitted at Masaka health center, were discharged.

The deputy director of Rwanda Education Board, Emmanuel Muvunyi also ruled out the alleged food poisoning.

"If they are done with their work they walk out. You never know what happened, it is possible they went out and took something which may be the cause of infection," said Muvunyi. "Hygiene here is better. It is the only center we trust not to infect people," he added.

Both the school and REB authorities asked teachers to be cautious of what they eat when they go out.

"We should be concerned and make sure that people around are healthy," said Cameron A Mc Donald, the principal of Riviera High School.

Further investigation of what caused the infection is still underway. The patients eat a variety of meals. Apparently the restaurant, dinning room and the kitchen were clean .

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