Bad Noodles Turn Stomachs at CPP Get-Together

Some 50 people in Banteay Mean­chey province’s Malai district fell sick on Monday after eating noodle soup at a lunch for local CPP members, officials said Tuesday.

Fifty of the 150 villagers who attended the Samaki, or solidarity, lunch in Takong commune’s Takong village were stricken with vomiting and diarrhea, district deputy governor Kuy Morn said by telephone.

Some people even fainted, he said, adding that district officials spent 12 hours trying to help the sick.

Chhum Vannarith, director of the provincial health department, said that only five villagers had been critically ill, but that they had improved overnight after receiving intravenous fluids.

He added that, while officials said they did not suspect foul play, the cause of the illness was unclear.

According to Kuy Morn, police investigation has narrowed the source of the problem to the noodles themselves, which came from several vendors and may have been prepared in unhygienic circumstances.

The vegetables were provided by the organizers of the lunch and had been properly cleaned, he said.

Last month, one person died and hundreds fell ill after drinking water from two ponds about 10 km from Takong village.

Megge Miller, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organ­ization, said Feb 21 that the pond water may have been contaminated by toxic algae or may have been deliberately poisoned.

Nasir Hassan, a WHO environmental health expert, said Monday that WHO is still unclear as to the cause of the pond-water poisoning, and is working closely with the Health Ministry to investigate the case.

Chhum Vannarith said that a pond-water sample was being analyzed by the Health Ministry, and that the cause of the contamination had yet to be identified.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Tomei)


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