Nha Trang chicken rice eatery blamed for poisoning 367 diners

By Bui Toan   March 18, 2024 | 08:46 pm PT
Many parts of the meal at a chicken rice eatery in the central city of Nha Trang have been found to be infected with bacteria that caused food poisoning among 367 diners last week.

The Pasteur Nha Trang Institute said Monday that many samples collected at Tram Anh eatery on March 13 and 15 tested positive for various bacteria that cause food poisoning.

Tests detected Salmonella in a sample of fried onion at the restaurant, Bacillus in a fermented cabbage sample, Staphyloccocus in a sample taken from the hand of a staff member, and Escherichia coli, Coliform and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in several tap water samples.

The institute also collected samples from a takeout portion at a local family and found Salmonella and Bacillus in the rice mixed with egg sauce, as well as the chicken.

Chicken rice served at Tram Anh eatery in Nha Trang City. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Thi

Chicken rice served at Tram Anh eatery in Nha Trang City. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Thi

Four samples among hospitalized patients also tested positive with Salmonella.

Salmonella is a toxin commonly found in meat, poultry, milk, raw or contaminated egg yolks, and can spread through knives, cutting surfaces, or contaminated food processing tools. The bacteria enter the body typically through food, spreading from the intestines into the blood and other organs, causing infections and poisoning. The initial signs of bacterial poisoning include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and watery diarrhea. Some cases may experience headaches, insomnia, and rashes. Without timely rehydration, the patient can suffer from dehydration, reduced blood pressure, hypotension, multi-organ failure, and even death.

Bacillus cereus is a type of gram-positive bacteria, naturally occurring in soil, grass, and especially in food, overnight or long-term refrigerated meals. It is considered a leading cause of food poisoning after Salmonella. They also have toxins like Hemolysin, Phospholipase, and Protease causing tissue necrosis, and even organ damage. Food containing toxins from Bacillus typically causes two types of poisoning. The first type, caused by toxins, leads to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, starting quickly within 6 hours of eating. The second type occurs slower, from 6 to 15 hours, causing diarrhea as the bacteria reside in the intestines.

E.coli is a common type of bacteria residing in the intestines of humans and animals. Some strains of E.coli can produce very powerful toxins that can cause severe illness.

Staphylococcus are gram-positive cocci, commonly present on the human body (mainly on the skin), causing infections.

On the evening of March 13, authorities in Nha Trang recorded 60 people suffering from food poisoning after eating chicken rice purchased from Tram Anh eatery at different times. The number of poisoning cases continuously increased to hundreds in the following days, with most patients reporting "eating chicken rice."

As of 3 p.m. on Monday, the Khanh Hoa Department of Health had recorded 367 cases of poisoning, an increase of seven cases from the previous day.

Currently, 75 patients are being treated at 10 hospitals and medical centers in the locality, while the rest have been discharged or were given outpatient follow-up by doctors. All patients are temporarily stable, some still experience mild abdominal pain and decreased fever.

Previously, before the cause of poisoning was determined, the owner of the eatery had apologized to customers and agreed to pay for the patients' hospital expenses.

A restaurant representative said it has supported many patients with nearly VND500 million (US$20,200).

The restaurant, a popular destination to both locals and tourists in Nha Trang, has been suspended since March 13.

go to top