LA PAZ – About 477 people, most of them children but including 34 teachers, were poisoned at breakfast in a school in the northern Bolivian city of Cobija, which borders on Brazil, medical authorities said Thursday.
Roberto Galindo Hospital director Jhonny Choque told local media that the majority of the children “suffered a bout of food poisoning,” which at first does not seem to have been serious but which may have different effects in different people.
He said that 159 children remain at various medical centers around the city and one of them was treated in intensive care but has been stabilized.
Choque added that the cause of the mass poisoning still has not been determined because hospital employees have been focusing on attending to the minors, all of whom are students at the Sonia Vaca Diez elementary school.
Authorities decided to suspend classes at the school for Thursday and Friday to carry out an investigation into what could have caused the poisoning, although it is presumed that it was due to bacterial contamination in the breakfast food.
A parent said that the kids were served chicken sandwiches with catsup and mayonnaise.
The hospital was brought to a standstill when the hundreds of children – many of whom had fainted at the school – began to arrive and had to treat them in the hallways, as reported by local television stations.
The minors were brought to the hospital on motorcycles, which is the most widely-used form of transportation in Cobija, the capital of Pando province.