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Two die, 4 still critically ill in suspected Taipei food poisoning outbreak

03/27/2024 10:38 PM
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New Taipei health officials inspect a rice noodle supplier of restaurant chain Polam Kopitiam in the city Wednesday. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Department of Health March 27, 2024
New Taipei health officials inspect a rice noodle supplier of restaurant chain Polam Kopitiam in the city Wednesday. Photo courtesy of New Taipei City Department of Health March 27, 2024

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Two people have died and four are still in critical condition after nine people who dined at a branch of Malaysian restaurant Polam Kopitiam in Taipei fell ill and received hospital treatment, in a suspected food poisoning outbreak, Taipei Department of Health said citing reports as of Wednesday evening.

The nine people dined at the restaurant, located in Far Eastern Department Store in Xinyi District between March 19 and March 23, all ate stir-fried rice noodle dishes and developed initial symptoms within 12 hours, which worsened to liver and kidney failure, septic shock, fulminant hepatitis, septic shock and other problems within a very short period of time, Chen Yen-yuan (陳彥元), head of the health department said at a news conference.

Chen urged people who visited the restaurant to seek medical attention immediately if they feel unwell and asked front-line medical personnel to pay particular attention to anyone who develops symptoms including tiredness, nausea, or vomiting after having visited the establishment.

● Taipei restaurant chain closed amid probe into suspected food poisoning deaths

Among the nine, a 39-year-old man working in the financial services sector who ate at the restaurant on March 22, died two days later after he was transferred from a hospital in Sanchong District in New Taipei to MacKay Memorial Hospital in Taipei, according to the health department.

A 66-year-old man became the second person to die in the suspected food poisoning outbreak. He ate at the vegetarian restaurant on March 19 and died Wednesday morning at Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital due to multiple organ failure after efforts to resuscitate him failed, according to Hung Tzu-jen (洪子仁), the hospital's vice superintendent.

Four customers are still in intensive care, including a man and a woman, both in their 40s who visited the restaurant on March 21 and who are in the ICU at the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Taipei Hospital after experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, weakness and diarrhea.

One other critically ill patient, a 53-year-old woman who visited the restaurant on March 22, is in intensive care and being treated for liver failure and septic shock, while the fourth is receiving treatment at MacKay Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

Two individuals believed to have been subject to mild food poisoning have returned home after being discharged from hospital.

The Shilin District Prosecutors Office said Wednesday it has contacted the Institute of Forensic Medicine under the Ministry of Justice to conduct an autopsy of the two deceased customers Thursday to determine the cause of the death.

(By Chen Yu-ting and Evelyn Kao)

Enditem/AW

Update

Q&A/Four things to know about Bongkrekic acid

March 29: Owner of restaurant chain at center of food poisoning outbreak apologizes

March 29: Bongkrekic acid found in 8 food poisoning cases; none in food samples

March 28: Tests on deceased in Taipei food poisoning case finds Bongkrekic acid

March 28: 5 people remain in critical condition due to food poisoning in Taipei

March 28: Bongkrek acid suspected in deadly Taipei food poisoning outbreak

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CNA photo March 27, 2024
CNA photo March 27, 2024
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