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41 pupils poisoned by jatropha in Bohol town

/ 08:28 PM June 09, 2012

CEBU CITY—At least 41 school children in Dauis town, Bohol province, fell ill after eating the poisonous fruits of jatropha trees while taking their lunch break on Friday.

The children, aged 6 to 10, were taken to a hospital in the capital city of Tagbilaran for treatment.

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Of the 41 pupils, 25 were released as of Saturday afternoon.

The 16 others were still confined at Governor Celestino Gallares Hospital in Tagbilaran City, according to pediatric ward nurse Abegail Mercader.

The children, she added, were in stable of condition although they had fever and complained of dizziness.

Dauis town is part of Panglao Island, one of the major tourist attractions of Bohol because of its white sand beaches.

Senior Supt. Constantino Barot Jr., Bohol provincial police chief, quoted reports from the Dauis police as saying jatropha trees had been used as fence posts around Tutolan Elementary School.

Apparently unaware that fruits of jatropha trees were poisonous, the children picked these and ate them for lunch.

At past 1 p.m., teachers in the school reported pupils complaining of severe stomach aches. Others vomited inside their classrooms.

Jatropha trees grow to a height of up to 5 meters. Jatropha seeds have an oil content of 37 percent and have been used to manufacture biodiesel.

Hospital nurse Mercader quoted some of the children as saying they ate the jatropha fruits because they tasted like chocolates and peanuts.

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Senior Supt. Barot said he asked school authorities to cut down the trees that serve as fence posts in the school.

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TAGS: Bohol, Children, Dauis, Food Poisoning, Jatropha
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