Health official suspects ‘talaba’ served at Christmas party made 14 people ill

THIRTEEN people, including a 15-year-old boy, fell ill due to possible food poisoning at a company Christmas party last Monday.
Jesus Rey Cavalida, 45, an employee of H. Lhuillier, said the people started showing signs of food poisoning while they were having dinner at the City Sports Club.

One of those who fell ill was Cavalida’s son, Ervin Michael, 15.
“At first he didn’t say anything, then he got uncomfortable. I brought him to the bathroom and there he started to throw up. He threw up five times,” he said.
Cavalida said that while dinner was ongoing, people slowly started to feel nauseated.
“Naglain ang tiyan sa mga tawo while dinner was going on (People felt ill),” confirmed Alice Loresto, personnel manager of H. Lhuillier.
However, the Department of Health 7 reported yesterday that all those who fell ill are now recovering.

“In fact, they are about to be discharged,” said Dr. Expedito Medalla of the Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) of the DOH 7.
Medalla said that the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) is looking into the matter and conducting its own investigation.
Noemi Solon, general manager of the City Sports Club, assured that they were on top of the situation and they are also conducting their own investigation in order to find out what happened.
“We had only 14 out of 450 people who got sick. They felt queasy so they were brought to the hospital. When we found out what happened, we did all we could do,” shesaid.
She assured that they were “looking out for the welfare” of their customers and did all that was possible.
“What happened was just an isolated incident,” she added.
Because of what happened, Medalla is urging for a stricter monitoring of restaurants and food handlers, especially during the holiday season.
“The City health department must monitor the restaurants and food handlers, knowing that there are a lot of festivities,” said Medalla.
DOH 7 Assistant Director Lakshmi Legaspi likewise advised the public to be wary of their food consumption during the holiday season.
“To avoid food poisoning, we should be careful with the handling of food...Spoiled food can also cause food poisoning,” said Legaspi.
Spaghetti, raw fish and shellfish are common causes of food poisoning, noted Legaspi.
She added that signs and symptoms of food poisoning include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
In last Monday’s incident, Loresto said they brought 14 people, including Cavalida’s son, to Perpetual Succour Hospital.
“It’s hard to say what food caused them to get sick; we are still waiting for the laboratory results,” said Loresto.
CHD Chief Fe Cabugao sent a sanitary inspector and the assistant city epidemiologist to check what happened.
She said that the most likely cause of the food poisoning was the talaba they ate.
However, Cabugao clarified that she would still get results of the investigation today before coming up with a conclusion.
Cavalida and Loresto both noted that the management of City Sports Club was quick to respond to the needs of the victims.
“They came here (to the hospital) and they checked on us and tried to verify what happened,” said Cavalida.
(Sunstar)

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