Sixty suffer sickness

A school worker and 59 pupils from three different schools in Lagos had to be hospitalised after suffering from food poisoning from an, as yet, unidentified source. The most severely affected school was the Júlio Dantas Secondary School, which also supplies meals to two other teaching establishments in the area.

Pupils first complained of sickness and diarrhoea in the middle of the afternoon. Ambulances and cars took the suffering children to Lagos Hospital. According to the hospital director, Pimenta de Castro, a total of 59 pupils were admitted. Although none were thought to be seriously ill, some of the pupils were kept under observation for several hours and four had to be transferred to Barlavento Paediatric Hospital in Portimão. Castro described the admissions as “the biggest case of food poisoning registered in the last few years of the hospital”.

The president of the executive council of Júlio Dantas School, Florivaldo Abundâncio, said that lunch on the day of the outbreak consisted of Portuguese pork and fruit while, the previous day, it was tuna salad. On each of these days, 250 meals had been served. An expert from Lagos Health Authority has already gathered up samples of the food for analysis, to determine the cause of the poisoning. Workers from the canteen at the Júlio Dantas School and the affected pupils were tested for any possible contagious diseases.

Abundâncio said that the situation was strange, given the fact that, among the children treated at the hospital, “four had not had lunch at the school, either on Monday or Tuesday”. He said that the outbreak was unprecedented in the school’s 20-year history, commenting: “We always take great care over the quality of meals we serve.”