The New Times (Kigali)

18 January 2013

Rwanda: 20 in Hospital After Suspected Food Poisoning

Twenty-One people were on Wednesday rushed to King Faisal Hospital in Kigali after suspected food poisoning at Bethany Hotel in Karongi district.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night. Customers who complained of stomach upset were rushed to Kibuye Hospital for first aid. The victims, among them hotel staff, are said to have showed signs of diarrhea, a symptom of food poisoning.

Efforts to get a comment from the hotel manager were fruitless as his known mobile phone was switched off and he was reportedly in Nairobi, Kenya.

Howeve, hotel staff, who talked to The New Times, said there could have been a mix-up in preparation of vegetable salads.

"It became necessary to transfer the affected people to Kigali for further treatment since new cases were continuously coming up," said a worker who preferred anonymity.

Victims not in danger

The source said security and authorities were immediately alerted and they provided swift intervention.

However, authorities ordered the hotel to temporarily shut down on Wednesday.

This newspaper has established that some of the victims are still undergoing treatment at King Faisal Hospital.

According to Dr Emmanuel Musabeyezu, who is currently attending to the patients at the hospital, four of the victims were discharged yesterday after treatment.

"Seventeen people are still admitted, but they are recovering so we are confident that they will also be discharged soon. Tests are still being done to ascertain the nature of the food poisoning, but the signs the patients have shown point at contamination," he said.

Dr Alex Butera, the acting chief executive officer of King Faisal Hospital, said food poisoning is a common occurrence, especially in mass gatherings such as schools, parties and hotels.

He added that the most common causes are contamination and preparing food in unhygienic manner such as using dirty utensils or cooking unwashed food.

Denis Karera, the chairperson of the Rwanda Hoteliers Association said Bethany Hotel is not a member of the association so they speak for themselves and therefore the hoteliers association can't penalise them.

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