Published: 01st January 2019
Kids fall sick at Bengaluru child care home after spotting lizard in food
Home sends all 103 children to hospital as precaution; 98 discharged, five to be discharged today
At least 15 children, residents of a government child care home, took ill after consuming dinner at the facility, where a lizard was allegedly found on Sunday night. Though all the 103 children in the home were hospitalised as a precaution, by Monday evening, 98 were discharged while five are said to be stable and will be discharged on Tuesday.
Sadajeevi, 12, from Vijayapura, who was put in the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre of Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, had joined the home recently. Called Balakara Balamandira, the home is located within the campus of Kidwai Hospital. Sadajeevi is flanked by his friends, aged 6 to 18, on adjacent beds in the same ward, sound asleep on Monday afternoon. "We were eating anna-sambar when we saw a lizard in one of the plates," he said.
Dr Naveen Benkappa, medical superintendent, Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health, said, "I have three children under observation, but all 103 are on the second floor in two wards. Their blood, urine and serum samples have been sent to the forensic department in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute. Six of them will undergo gastric aspiration, and their stomach contents will be sent for toxicology screening after the police file an FIR. We carried out stomach wash for 15-20 kids who were symptomatic."
Benkappa said 98 children were discharged on Monday night, while five kids who had complained of weakness and abdominal pain, will be discharged on Tuesday.
A staff of the facility, while attending to the children, said, "Last night, one of the boys saw a lizard on his plate, following which around six of them started vomiting. Our superintendent decided to bring all of them to the hospital, as they had already consumed the food.”
Sudha Rani, superintendent of the facility, said, "These kids come to us for care under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. We follow the nutritional guidelines of the Women and Child Development Department that specifies calorie intake etc. Food is prepared thrice a day and we have never come across lizards even on the walls of the kitchen. I don't know how this happened."
A food sample has been sent to the food lab at Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), and the report is expected in 10-15 days, said the staff of the home.
A case was registered at Siddapura police station.
Y Mariswamy, in-charge chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, "We have sent our secretary to the facility. If we find any violations, we will send them a showcause notice. I'm in touch with Dr Benkappa." Mariswamy said that Minister for Women and Child Development Jayamala is keeping close tabs on the incident.
Dr Kala Yadav, professor and in-charge head of the Microbiology department at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, said it was unlikely that only the presence of a lizard could lead to food poisoning, as commonly found lizards are not poisonous. “But they can be carriers of infection, depending on where they come from, and in that case, they can cause food poisoning,” she said.