t least 121 out of the 125 people admitted at Mashesha Health Centre in the south-western district of Rusizi after drinking suspected contaminated banana juice at a wedding ceremony last weekend have been discharged, local authorities and medical sources have said.
The incident occurred in Gitambi Sector last Friday. Local authorities intervened after those who had consumed the juice started complaining of severe fever, headaches, stomach pain and vomiting, among other symptoms of food poisoning, according to Gervais Ndagijimana, the health centre director.
Children and minors were among those admitted, he said.
Speaking to The New Times on Tuesday, Ndagijimana said only four individuals remained in hospital.
“Others were discharged after recovering,” she said.
The patients were discharged between Monday and Tuesday morning, according to the official.
“The remaining four could also be discharged not later than tomorrow (Wednesday) as they are responding positively to medication,” Ndagijimana said.
Samples of the suspected contaminated juice have been sent to the National Reference Laboratory for tests to ascertain the actual cause of the poisoning but the lab results are yet to be availed.
It is suspected, however, that the juice might have been contaminated as a result of poor hygiene practices during its manufacture, handling or storage.
Following the incident, local authorities called a meeting in which residents were reminded of the importance of maintaining good hygiene, Gitambi sector executive secretary Niwemugeni Marie Claire, told this paper.
“We have been following up on the issue and met residents to remind them about the need to observe hygiene,” Niwemugeni said.