On today's leg of our continuing journey, we'll be making stops on three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe.
Our first stop is this former British Crown Colony, which is now a "special" part of China. But there was nothing special about a Guilin restaurant on April 17, except for the aftereffects of the meal. Twelve restaurant patrons (part of a tour group) came down with symptoms of food poisoning, which appeared 18-40 hours after they dined at the restaurant. One of the victims was admitted to hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.
From Hong Kong, we take a short hop to Saitama Prefecture in Japan, where we visit with students who live and study at the Musashino Academia Musicae. Sixty of high school-aged students fell ill with gastroenteritis after eating at the dormitory cafeteria on April 15th and 16th. The local health center was able to confirm Norovirus in 8 of the ill students and in 3 cafeteria workers. As punishment, Saitama Prefecture ordered the cafeteria to remain closed for three days.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ex China)
A 66-year old Malaysian man, Tang Gon Seang, is in a coma in a Chinese hospital after eating starfruit. He is just one of at least 10 patients who were admitted to the hospital with similar symptoms. Starfruit is known to contain one or more toxins, depending on the variety, and can cause severe neurological symptoms in patients who are suffering from severe kidney disease. But according to his family, Mr. Tang was in excellent health when he embarked on his trip to China.
Gombe State, Nigeria
Our next stop is Doma in Gombe State, where approximately 125 students at a girls school are undergoing treatment for food poisoning. The girls began complaining of "excessive" vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea after eating a meal of beans. More than 100 of the students have been treated in hospital and released. Ten have been admitted to hospital and are said to be in critical condition. The government is testing the beans to determine whether they are the cause of the illnesses.
A local fast food restaurant, "Bos Burger", is suspected of being the source of a food poisoning outbreak that has struck 131 people so far. The victims are complaining of nausea and severe stomach pain. Four of the 131 victims have been hospitalized in serious condition, and local officials have closed the restaurant until their investigation into the cause of the outbreak is complete. Local media appear to be pointing the finger at "bad mayonnaise", but this is pure speculation on their part.
Finally, we find ourselves back in Asia for an update on Vietnam's cholera epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, the country has logged 2,490 cases of acute, watery diarrhea between March 5th and April 22nd. Of these, 377 were positive for Vibrio cholerae, serotype O1 Ogawa. This outbreak, which has now spread to 20 municipalities and provinces, is showing no signs of abating.
And that's our world tour for today.