The Gauteng provincial Health department in South Africa has confirmed the deaths of at least five children this week due to suspected food poisoning.
Authorities are urging communities to exercise caution when purchasing food products, especially from spaza shops, in the wake of these devastating incidents.
This follows reports of children falling critically ill and ultimately succumbing to the effects of consuming contaminated food.
The children, who tragically lost their lives, had consumed snacks purchased from a taxi rank located in Bekkersdal, situated in the West Rand region of Gauteng.
However, recent fatalities are not isolated incidents. Earlier, two young boys from Soweto met a similar fate after consuming food from a local spaza shop in the area.
The pattern of food-related tragedies has raised serious concerns and prompted the Gauteng Health department to take swift action.
Department spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba, stated that outbreak response teams are closely monitoring various communities in the region.
This proactive approach aims to prevent further cases of food poisoning and protect the well-being of Gauteng residents, particularly children.
Modiba emphasised the severity of the situation, saying, “In total, it’s about 5 children who have demised from having eaten some food, and so forth. We have intensified our awareness drive in various communities from a precautionary point of view. We are ensuring that communities are more alert. But it also requires us to work closely with law enforcement agencies because if indeed local establishments sell contaminated food, it means we have to go back to the source where they are buying their products from. We are working with them to intensify those random checks.”
The Gauteng Health department’s efforts are focused on not only addressing the immediate concerns but also preventing any future incidents of this nature. As investigations continue, the community remains on high alert.