CEBU CITY—At least 24 people, 10 of them children, had fallen ill after eating macaroni served during a birthday celebration in Argao town, some 66.9 kilometers south of Cebu City.
Dr. Francis Kim Capate, physician at Isidro Kintanar Memorial Hospital in Argao, said the patients arrived in the facility on Thursday night, Friday and Saturday “all suffering from stomachache, loose bowel movement (LBM) and vomiting. Some developed fever.”
Capate said the patients pinpointed to the macaroni as the culprit.
He said the illness might have been caused by poor food preparation but this would have to be investigated.
Rural health office personnel in Argao got samples of the macaroni and the ingredients for testing.
Capate said the hospital would also forward stool samples for laboratory tests and the clinical records of the patients for analysis.
Liezel Enriquez-Gubaton said she served macaroni cooked in spaghetti sauce, meat and cheese on Wednesday during the 53rd birthday celebration of her mother, Rosalia Enriquez, in Sitio Canohoy, Barangay Bulasa, Argao town.
The next day, she said her younger siblings and nephews started complaining of stomachache and LBM.
Gubaton said her younger brother, Vincent Enriquez, 21, was the first to be brought to the hospital on Thursday night.
Her mother, Rosalia, was also brought to the hospital on Friday night. Rosalia, who complained of stomachache, was weak and developed fever at the hospital.
Gubaton said she also had a stomachache but was not brought to the hospital.
Her brother, Andrew Jr., who went home to Cebu City after the birthday celebration on Wednesday, was also brought to the hospital due to LBM.
Gubaton said all those who fell ill ate the macaroni, which led them to suspect that the meal caused the food poisoning.
“Everyone who ate the macaroni got sick. They had stomachaches. Some suffered from LBM and had vomited,” she said.
They suspected that the bacteria that made them ill might have come from the catsup she put in the macaroni, which she bought per kilogram from the public market.