By Jennifer P. Rendon
A bad buko pandan juice allegedly killed a Grade 11 student and sickened 37 of her classmates in a high school in Ajuy, Iloilo.
The 17-year-old victim started to feel ill several hours after they held their acquaintance party-cum-United Nations celebration on Nov 4, 2022.
Ajuy Mayor Jett Rojas said the victim was taken to Sara District Hospital on Nov 5 but was advised to go home after she felt better.
She again fell ill and died while on their way to Governor Niel D Tupas Sr. District Hospital.
After the girl’s death, several other students belonging to Grade 11-Marangal section experienced symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomachache.
As of Monday afternoon, Rojas said they have accounted for 38 students, including the one who died, and two other teachers who got ill.
Twenty-one students were admitted to the Sara District Hospital, nine to Governor Niel D Tupas Sr. District Hospital, and seven to Rural Health Unit.
One of the teachers sought medical help from a private physician while the other stayed at home.
Rojas said the victims suspected that the buko pandan juice prepared during the acquaintance party was the culprit of the food poisoning.
It was prepared by one of the students, who also landed in the hospital.
The drink was reportedly made from coconut juice mixed with one can of condensed milk, sugar, and pandan-flavored sago pearl.
During the affair, the class consumed grilled pork, fried lumpia, and pork adobo.
Based on fecalysis results of two admitted students, they suffered from amoebiasis.
Also called amoebic dysentery, amoebiasis is an infection of the intestines caused by a parasitic amoeba.
The teacher-in-charge claimed there was nothing irregular as far as the taste and smell of the buko pandan juice.
As this developed, Rojas said he invited all heads of schools and the two Department of Education (DepEd) district supervisors for a dialogue.
“We would discuss ways that this kind of incident will not happen again,” he said.
For starters, Rojas said during school celebrations and affairs, school authorities should ensure that foods served to students have been prepared well from a known source.