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Dhaka Tribune

IEDCR bodies probe food-borne outbreaks in Gazipur, Kushtia

Update : 22 Apr 2014, 09:14 PM

An IEDCR probe team has found that food-borne illness, followed by mass psychogenic illness, had caused more than 200 workers to fall sick at a garment factory in Gazipur.

A six-member team, led by Dr M Mushtuq Husain, principle scientific officer of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), reached the conclusion after visiting the workers of the Bestwool Garment and testing food samples.

Dr Mushtaq told the Dhaka Tribune that the team examined samples of the egg, cake and banana – that were provided as tiffin to over 2,300 workers. The egg might have become rotten as a result of hot weather, the IEDCR officer said, adding that the contractor who supplied the tiffin had no previous record of providing rotten food to the organisation.

On Monday, several workers became ill after eating the eggs, while others also started complaining of feeling sick once they heard the news. The authority kept the garments closed yesterday.

Meanwhile, as part of a separate IEDCR committee’s investigation into the death of one person after consuming watermelon in Kushtia, samples of the fruit has been collected and sent for examination to the National Food Safety Laboratory of the Institute of Public Health (IPH).

Professor Dr Mahmudur Rahman, director of the IEDCR, expressed hopes that the tests would reveal whether any chemical had been mixed with the watermelon, causing a girl to die and 26 others to fall sick.

Chemical or toxin-producing bacteria might have caused the fatality, he said, adding that only the chemical test would be carried out at the moment, as the sample collecting process for examining bacteria had not been followed properly. Dr Mahmudur, however, refused to share findings from their preliminary investigation.

A six-member committee, led by outbreak investigation officer Dr Waliur Rahman, has been collecting epidemiological and statistical information by visiting relatives of the deceased and the others who fell ill, Dr Mahmudur added.

Nine-year old Smrity died and 26 others people fell ill after eating watermelon at Kalua village in Kushtia’s Kumarkhali upazila on Sunday. Twelve people are still undergoing treatment at Kushtia Medical College Hospital, while police arrested vendor Rezaul Karim following the incident.  

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