Selangor Journal
A colour-enhanced scanning electron micrograph shows the Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria (in red) invading cultured human cells, taken by the Rocky Mountain Laboratories of the United States’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on November 10, 2002. — Picture via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Gombak food poisoning: Salmonella found in stool samples

SHAH ALAM, June 12 — Salmonella bacteria has been detected in the stool samples taken from a school programme in Gombak, where a food poisoning outbreak left nearly 100 people ill and killed two.

The New Straits Times reported the Selangor Health Department as saying that the other samples have been sent to the National Public Health Laboratory Sungai Buloh, where the results are still pending.

“Results are still pending for other samples such as food from the incident, swabs from related surface areas and equipment where food was prepared, as well as clinical samples from the food handlers,” it said in a written reply.

The department added that 11 more food poisoning victims have been hospitalised compared to the 82 victims reported yesterday.

“Five have been admitted to the ward, while the remaining three are still awaiting review at the Emergency Department as of 10am today,” it said.

At present, the department has not detected any obvious practices that may have contributed to contamination as the programme’s food handlers have been vaccinated for typhoid.

“In making the fried eggs, the food handler will crack it open into a bowl before putting it into a frying pan. All the eggs were washed before being used.

“The food preparation involved frying the eggs and packing the cooked vermicelli, and all these processes were done simultaneously by the same food handler.

“The food handlers have been vaccinated for typhoid. Thus, no obvious practices were noted to contribute to contamination,” it said.

The eggs and vermicelli were reportedly purchased on June 7, a day before the incident.

“The eggs used in this incident consist of free-range chicken eggs. In addition to fried eggs (‘telur mata kerbau’), the eggs were also mixed into the fried vermicelli,” said the department.

Yesterday, the police confirmed receiving two reports of deaths involving a 17-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, suspected to be due to food poisoning from the school.

Gombak police chief Noor Ariffin Mohamad Nasir was quoted as saying the teenager had eaten food brought home by his mother, who attended a religious programme at the school on Saturday (June 8).

After eating the food, the victim and his parents had diarrhoea and at 1.30pm yesterday, the victim lost consciousness.

The second victim ate the food brought home by her father, who is a security guard at the Gombak school, on the same day. She then experienced a fever, vomiting, and diarrhoea at 10.45am yesterday.

Meanwhile, Selangor Health Department director Dr Ummi Kalthom Shamsudin said 82 individuals who attended the programme experienced food poisoning symptoms.

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