Monday, October 10, 2011

Unknown Poison kills 7 Children in Kavango, Namibia - 10th Oct 2011

SEVEN children have died and one is in a critical condition in the Kavango Region due to poisoning by an unknown substance. A 10-month-old baby is in stable condition at the Andara Catholic hospital, 200 kilometres east of Rundu.

While speculation is rife that the children died after eating cooked maize that was exposed to a toxic chemical, doctors say tests have not yet determined the source of and the chemical responsible for the deaths.

Eight of the nine children who were admitted to the Andara Catholic hospital early last week are from Kahanga village in the Mukwe Constituency, 180 kilometres east of Rundu. The ninth child was allegedly visiting the village the night before they took ill.

Eight of the nine children were referred to the Rundu State Hospital after their condition became critical. However, one child died on Wednesday before he could be transferred. The others died at the Rundu State Hospital.

On Friday, the Police were joined by a forensic team from Windhoek at the village where they hoped to discover the source of the poisoning. The teams also visited the nearby Shadikongoro Irrigation project, from where the villagers often buy their maize.

The autopsies on the children showed that they died from acute liver failure.
According to Dr Yuri Yangazov, medical superintendent at the Rundu Intermediate Hospital, samples have been taken to test for poison. According to doctors at the Andara Catholic Hospital, situated 200 km east of Rundu, the first child was admitted to hospital on Monday a week ago. During the next 24 hours, a further eight children were brought to hospital with the same symptoms – convulsions, loss of consciousness and vomiting. Dr Bekinkosi Ncomanzi, the chief medical officer at Andara Hospital, said the first child arrived at the hospital after he had collapsed at school. Tests revealed the child had a low blood-sugar level and doctors thought he was suffering from malnutrition.

He was given food and sent home. However, later that day a further three children and the first patient were again admitted and doctors began to suspect poisoning. Read More