Thirty-Two People Faint in Suspected Food Poisoning

More than 30 monks and pagoda boys fainted en masse in Svay Rieng province Monday in a suspected case of food poisoning.

According to a health official, the fainting began about 10:30 am after the pagoda’s cook made a soup using vegetables that were provided by villagers at a ceremony held at Svay Thom pagoda in Svay Chrum district.

The monks and pagoda boys began vomiting and fell unconscious after eating the food, with 27 of the 32 who became sick being rushed for treatment at the provincial referral hospital, said provincial health department director Ke Ratha.

Fifteen were still receiving treatment as of Monday afternoon, he said.

“We do not yet know why the monks fainted,” Dr. Ratha said. “Either the vegetables were not clean or there were chemicals in the food but the first conclusion is that it could be food poisoning.”

Dr. Ratha said department officials will visit the pagoda to assess what caused the mass fainting.

“We will bring the vegetables that were used in the food to be tested in Phnom Penh.”

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