Around 270 people in Pegu [Bago] Division have been hospitalised with food poisoning after eating milk-noodle soup at a Buddhist ordination ceremony in the town of Thegon on Monday.
A local resident told DVB that children were the first to suffer from stomach problems after eating the soup, which was served en masse to the novice monks and attendees as part of an alms ceremony.
“The children ate first and some of them immediately fell ill,” he said. “Then the adults who were eating began experiencing the symptoms of food poisoning.”
He added that the novices who were being ordained escaped unscathed as they declined to eat when they saw the effects on the laypersons at the gathering.
He said that those with serious conditions were transported to Thegon Public Hospital while 70 others with mild symptoms were treated at a local medical clinic in nearby Inbinhla.
A villager who was hospitalised after eating the soup said, “I ate one bowl of noodles, and after about an hour and a half I felt terrible cramps in my stomach. I had to be rushed to the hospital.”
A similar incident of food poisoning reportedly occurred at a similar merit-making ceremony in the village two years ago.
Health officials have warned that cooking food for large numbers of people can be hazardous in the hot dry season.
On 19 April, around 200 residents in Pawlaw village, near Myawaddy in Karen State, were hospitalised after eating rice at a religious ceremony.