|A victim of the mass food poisoning in Lai Châu Province receives treatment at the Lai Châu General Hospital. — Photo infonet.vn
Viet Nam News
LAI CHÂU — The number of victims in the largest food poisoning incident in the new year has shot up to 38, including seven fatalities, the provincial hospital announced.
Lai Châu General Hospital director Đỗ Văn Giang told reporters on Tuesday evening that 31 patients were still receiving treatment at the hospital and the Health Centre in Phong Thổ District where the mass food poisoning occurred.
Ministry of Health’s Food Safety Department head Nguyễn Thanh Phong, meanwhile, said there was still no final conclusion on the cause of the posioning as tests on the food sample to identify the toxic substance were still underway.
Phong also expressed doubts over assumptions that excessive alcohol was the cause, as the symptoms of the seven victims before dying were not similar to those in typical alcohol poisoning cases.
The first victim of the tragic food poisoning incident was a 60-year-old man named Phu Vần Lèng in Ma Ly Chải Commune. After a house party on February 10, he said he had a headache, following which he began vomiting repeatedly. He died later that night.
His family had held a three-day funeral from February 11 to 13, where food and alcohol were served for the whole village according to traditional customs.
By Monday evening, dozens of people who attended the funeral were suffering from headaches and nausea. Two later died at home, one while working in the field, two at the hospital and another one was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Lai Châu authorities provided financial support of some VNĐ17 million (US$755) to each family to hold a funeral and gave VNĐ2 million each to those undergoing treatment. — VNS