Health officials confirmed on Monday night that over 600 students of the iSchool Nha Trang in the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa were poisoned with the Salmonella bacterium, which is sensitive to most antibiotics, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Hospitals across Khanh Hoa admitted 648 students of the iSchool Nha Trang with food poisoning symptoms between last Friday night and Monday, according to an announcement signed by Trinh Ngoc Hiep, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa Department of Health.
Among the victims, a first-grade boy died on Sunday en route to a Ho Chi Minh City hospital, 211 students are still inpatients, and the remainder were released in stable health.
Results from cultures of fecal specimens collected by hospitals in Khanh Hoa showed that the causative agent was the Salmonella bacterium.
Doctor Doan Uyen Vy, an anti-poison expert of Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, told news site VnExpress that Salmonella is a common culprit in many food poisoning cases from mild to severe.
It can cause sepsis, multi-organ failure and death with symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
This bacterium is always found in many foods such as eggs and raw vegetables.
Given the school’s lunch menu, Vy said the students had been poisoned after eating the sauce made from eggs or raw vegetables.
Some 840 out of the iSchool Nha Trang’s 1,328 students paid for daily lunch service and ate there at noon on Friday.
Pham Huu Binh, principal of the iSchool Nha Trang, said that the meals at the school were provided by a catering business.
Binh met with the children’s parents on Sunday and admitted responsibility.
The iSchool is a K-12 international integrated school system and a member of Nguyen Hoang Group, an education service provider in Vietnam.
The system was established in 2008 and has been expanded to 14 provinces and cities across the country, according to its website.
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