Banh mi poisoning cases in southern Vietnam rise to over 560

By Phuoc Tuan   May 6, 2024 | 12:58 am PT
Banh mi poisoning cases in southern Vietnam rise to over 560
Doctors at Dong Nai Children's Hospital discuss further treatment for a child patient who suffers from food poisoning after eating banh mi in the province, May 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
At least 560 people have had to seek medical attention for developing food poisoning symptoms after buying banh mi at an eatery in the southern Dong Nai Province.

According to Long Khanh Town authorities, of those who have had banh mi at Bang eatery on April 30, as many as 560 have been hospitalized by Monday while there are several others with mild symptoms who have visited hospitals for check-ups and returned home.

Among the admissions, 12 are still in critical condition and over 200 have been discharged.

The most severe case is a six-year-old boy being treated at the Children's Hospital No.1 in Ho Chi Minh City which borders Dong Nai.

He remains in a deep coma, with little urine output, and continues to receive mechanical ventilation and dialysis. He had banh mi from the eatery on April 30, and the next day, he vomited and had loose stools but was not hospitalized immediately.

On May 2, he vomited more and had seizures, and was taken to Long Khanh General Hospital in a state of coma, cyanosis, and cardiac arrest.

The second-most severe case is a seven-year-old boy being treated at Dong Nai Children's Hospital, whose health is improving. The patient is showing a cough reflex and could occasionally open his eyes. The other severe cases are temporarily stable.

Le Quang Trung, director of Dong Nai Health Department, said Sunday that blood test results from three critically ill children showed E. coli infection.

This bacterium often appears in fresh produce, beef, fresh milk, fruit juice, cheese, fresh fruit, and raw vegetables. Symptoms of E. coli infection typically include nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.

Bang banh mi eatery on Tran Quang Dieu Street of Long Khanh sold 1,100 banh mi on April 30.

The next day, many of its customers developed food poisoning symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. The number of cases has kept rising since.

The owner of the eatery, which has been open for over a decade, said ingredients were bought from retailers around the town and there were no contracts.

The eatery has been suspended for further inspection. A preliminary check has revealed that it does not meet food safety standards.

Police are still investigating the cause of the food poisoning.

Many people have assumed that it is the heat that has caused the ingredients to be spoiled, creating conditions for bacterium to grow and spread.

During the last week of April, temperature in Dong Nai Province rose to as high as 38 degrees and real temperatures outdoor were four-five degrees higher.

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