40 students ill after eating prasad on Saraswati puja in Jharkhand

Forty school students at Ita village in Lohardaga district were admitted to hospital on Sunday after showing symptoms of food poisoning, said district authorities.

District civil surgeon Dr Vijay Kumar said that the students had eaten prasad — sev (a salt-based crunchy fried snack) and bundiya (a dessert made from sweetened and fried chickpea flour) — offered to the goddess on the occasion of Saraswati Puja. “The students had severe symptoms of food poisoning, following which they were rushed to Sadar hospital,” he said.

Only one student was referred to a higher medical centre, and was brought to Ranchi on Monday morning. The remaining students were discharged from Sadar hospital, he said. The students were aged between 14 years and 17 years, the civil surgeon added.

He said that the district administration had collected samples of the prasad, which would be sent for examination at the Ranchi food testing laboratory. To rule out any outbreak of disease, district epidemiologist Dr Prashant Kumar was also conducting an inquiry into the matter, the civil surgeon said.

District commissioner Akanksha Ranjan said that action would be taken against the school authorities if lapses were found on their part. “Right now, we are conducting an inquiry. The reason for 40 students falling ill at once because of food poisoning is being ascertained,” she said.

First Published: Feb 12, 2019 08:33 IST

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