Food poisoning kills two in Bangalore; 50 take ill after consuming ‘prasada’ on Ramanavami

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Bangalore, April 20, 2013, DHNS:

Two people, including a six-year-old girl, died and about 50 took ill with symptoms of food poisoning after consuming “panaka” and buttermilk served at the Sri Muthu mariamma temple at Valmiki Nagar near Azadnagar on the occasion of “Rama Navami” in the city on Saturday.

Those taken ill have been admitted to Vani Vilas Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences. The bodies of the deceased have been handed over to their families after autopsy.

Doctors, however, confirmed that none of the victims were critical. Victoria Hospital Medical Superintendent G Gurushankar said, “We hope to discharge the patients by Sunday evening.”

The dead have been identified as Ganga Murugan (6) and Krishnamurthy S (40). On Friday night, Ganga complained of stomach ache and started vomiting.

She was taken to hospital early on Saturday after her health deteriorated. She was initially admitted to KIMS and later to Vani Vilas Hospital, where she was declared brought dead.

Krishnamurthy, a daily wage labourer, was a priest in the temple. His nephew Venkatesh said: “He had been complaining of headache and severe stomach ache since Friday evening. He had recently unde­rgone a heart surgery.”

When his condition did not improve, we took him to Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology on Saturday morning. He was shifted to Victoria Hospital around 4 pm. He suddenly developed breathing complications and doctors declared him dead around 5:15 pm.”

The “prasada,” comprising “kosambari,” buttermilk and “Panaka,” a drink made with jaggery, water and muskmelon, was prepared by the temple authorities and a few volunteers. Though the “prasada” did not have any immediate effect on the devotees, many of them started complaining of stomach ache by night.

Recounting the trauma, Arun Kumar (41), a tailor, said: “I started feeling weak around midnight. I was vomiting continuously and also suffered from stomach upset. On Saturday morning I visited a doctor.”

Venkatesh (37) had visited the temple with his 15-year-old son Avinash. “Both of them caught fever on Friday night. In the morning we realised that everybody in the area had the same problem. We rushed everybody to hospital,” said his wife Anjali.

Among the sick were 18 children, who were admitted to Vani Vilas Hospital. Zarine, mother of eight-year-old Mubarak, said: “He vomited around six times on Friday night. Till 4 am, he was in the same condition. In the morning we rushed him to hospital.

All these children didn’t think twice before having the buttermilk or the “panaka” because the temple was serving it free of cost. It was god’s offering, who would think something like this could happen because of that,” she added.

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