Man Dies as Beef Suspected of Sickening Wedding Guests

A 77-year-old man died on Saturday while 48 others have been hospitalized in the past week after eating what local authorities suspect was contaminated meat at a wedding party in Pursat province.

About 100 guests attended the wedding party for Hun Horn, 46, and Vin Phoeun, 38, in Bakan district’s Talou commune last Monday, and nearly half of them—including the bride—have since been hospitalized with diarrhea, vomiting and bloody urine, explained deputy district police chief Chea Arun. On Saturday, Yim Vin, 77, died, he said.

“Earlier this week, the elderly couple got married and invited their relatives and some villagers to join their eating and drinking party,” he said, adding that when the guests returned home last Monday night, some were already complaining of feeling sick and more guests came down with similar symptoms over the next few days.

“At first, we suspected those people had drunk poisoned soft drinks, but it cannot be that as some of the patients who were at the wedding party said they didn’t drink any soft drinks,” he said.

“We suspect the illness is because of food poisoning,” Mr. Arun said, adding that officials from the provincial health department had taken samples of the food and drink for testing.

Chan Sokha, director of Pursat Provincial Referral Hospital, said on Sunday that the food and drink samples were currently being tested in Phnom Penh.

“Based on our initial examination, we suspect that there was a poisonous chemical in the beef, as we found some colorings and preservatives in the meat,” he said.

Mr. Sokha said that of the 49 hospitalized patients, 16 have been children between the ages of 2 and 16, and 12 are still in hospital, including six in serious condition in Phnom Penh.

“These people need intravenous blood. Three children are at Kantha Bopha hospital and three patients are at Calmette Hospital, including the bride,” he said, adding that health officials were cooperating with the police to identify the source of the beef.

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