Source: CNA

200 pupils affected by gastroenteritis outbreak at Zhenghua Primary School; MOH and SFA jointly investigating incident

Zhenghua Primary School was hit by the latest gastroenteritis outbreak last week, resulting in two hospitalisations and more than 200 pupils developing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

In a joint statement on Thu (25 Apr), the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said that the pupils who were hospitalised have since been discharged as of 5pm on Wed.

A joint inspection of the school canteen was carried out by MOH and SFA last Wednesday.

16 food handlers were made to undergo stool screening, and food and environmental swabs were taken for laboratory analysis.

Zhenghua Primary School’s principal Constance Loke told The Straits Times that around 200 pupils had shown symptoms of gastroenteritis last week on Wed (17 Apr) and Thu (18 Apr).

“The school has taken steps to sanitise common areas, water coolers, the canteen and the classrooms of the affected students,” she told ST.

Mrs Loke also said that the school had closed its canteen last Thu following the outbreak, and has solicited the services of a licensed caterer to bring in packed food for the pupils during recess and lunch time.

The school’s canteen had partially resumed its operations on Wed, and will fully operate as usual next Mon, she added.

“The school is monitoring the situation closely and working with the relevant government agencies to ascertain the cause of the incident,” she said.

A week prior to the outbreak at Zhenghua Primary School, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and SFA investigated a gastroenteritis outbreak which affected five students from the Prince George’s Park House student residence on 12 Apr.

Earlier this month, 22 students residing at the Ridge View Residential College of the National University of Singapore (NUS) were hit by a gastroenteritis outbreak on 1 Apr, with one of them hospitalised, according to MOH and SFA.

The outbreak at Ridge View Residential College was the second of its kind in two weeks, following the gastroenteritis outbreak in several PCF Sparkletots outlets at Sengkang Central which affected 109 preschoolers.

As a result, Kate’s Catering was forced to suspend its meal preparation services at all 11 of the PCF Sparkletots centres “for an indefinite period of time”, TODAY reported PAP Community Foundation (PCF) as saying on 27 Mar.

The gastroenteritis outbreak at the Sengkang Central PCF Sparkletots outlets was the third of its kind since Feb this year.

Previously, 14 PCF Toa Payoh preschoolers were afflicted with vomiting and nausea as a result of a gastroenteritis outbreak, while 31 people were affected by such an outbreak at the Tanglin MindChamps outlet, ST reported.