Toddler dies, 20 admitted in suspected food poisoning 

Residents storm the shop on August 14, 2022 from where they bought cassava flour that is suspected to contain poison. PHOTO | JOEL KAGUTA

A three-year-old toddler in Kasese District died Sunday while 20 others from different families have been hospitalised over suspected poisoning.

The deceased child has been identified as Rosemary Kabugho, whose four other siblings are among the 20 people who are admitted to Kagando hospital and Katwe Health center III.

Mr Kamusede Masereka, the Katwe Health Center III focal person, confirmed the incident and said they are waiting for the final results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Kampala where the samples were taken to ascertain the cause of the death.

Mr Jockim Kaleru Mujungu, the deceased’s father, a resident of Kakoni Cell, Tophill Ward in Katwe Kabatooro Town Council, said he bought six cups of cassava flour from a nearby shop, on Saturday evening, which they prepared and had for supper.

"At night my child (deceased) was the first to start complaining of stomach pain and a few minutes later others started vomiting. I tried to look for boda boda riders to take them to hospital but it was raining in the night so I had to wait until Sunday morning, but the situation got worse and she died shortly after reaching health facility," he explained.

He said out of eight family members, five complained of stomach pain and now four are admitted after one passed on.

"I immediately suspected that there might have been something in the food because they were all fine before supper," he said. 

Mr Wilson Kaija, 50, the shop owner, said he also bought 400 kilograms of cassava flour on Friday from another shopkeeper in Kyarukara Village.

Kaija explained that he sold part of the flour to many customers on Saturday but shortly after received complaints from a number of them who said they had stomach ache.

"At around 10pm in the night, one of my customers who had bought flour came and said that his children had started complaining of stomach pain and were vomiting. As he was still telling me another woman also came and reported the same," he said.

Mr Kaija said the same cassava flour is what his family had prepared for supper and upon reaching home, he found his 13-year-old son also complaining of stomach pain. 

"When I reached home I found my son complaining and a few minutes later my wife also started complaining. My wife told me the cassava flour was sour," he said.

Some of those admitted in Katwe Health center III are; Michael Nyanzi, 27, Jonas Masereka,10, Grayson Masereka, 11, Anorld Muhindo,13, Enid Tusabe, 8, Ruth Kabugho, 6, Boaz Bwambale, 10, Moreen Biira, 7, and Joward, 3.


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