OVER 30 people including a newly-wed couple and a two-year-old child are admitted to Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu after they consumed suspected poisonous food
during a wedding ceremony.
The hospital has quarantined all the 31 victims in its eye department, and no visitors are being allowed in.
A check at the hospital yesterday established that the number of victims had risen from the initial 13 admitted to the health institution on Saturday evening to 31.
Most of the affected people are in their late 40s while the groom and bride are in their 30s.
The hospital has taken stool samples from the victims which will be sent to the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka for microscopic culture and sensitivity test, to establish what transpired.
Speaking from her hospital bed, the bride, Virginia Kasonda, said everything went on well until some people from the groom Sikota Ngenda’s side started complaining of stomach upsets just after the ceremony that was held at Mandanga Primary School on Friday.
Virginia said the affected people only sought medical attention the following day (Saturday) when the situation worsened.
“We were all happy until people started vomiting. The whole thing is confusing and I really don’t know what transpired,” she said.
And speaking when he visited the victims on Saturday night, Western Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu commended the hospital staff for bringing the situation under control.
Mr Mubukwanu has urged people holding public functions to observe hygiene when preparing food to avoid such occurrences.
“This could have been a disaster, but thanks to the hospital staff for the commitment they have shown to prevent deaths. This is very commendable,” he said.
Lewanika General Hospital clinical care officer-in-charge Subhash Chand Soni said the situation is now under control and everyone is responding well to treatment.
Dr Soni said the hospital has also sent staff to the community where the wedding ceremony took place to check if there are some people with similar symptoms.
He said all the victims have diarrhoea and they are still vomiting.
“From the received cases, five were very critically ill but they are now stable,” he said.
And Dr Soni said the affected people have been quarantined in the eye department to avoid infecting patients admitted to the main hospital.
He said visits to the victims have been restricted until the medical personnel establish the cause of the infections.
The medical workers are also taking precaution by washing their hands with soap every time they attend to the victims.