Tests reveal little about Byculla jail illness

FDA test results on medication, raw food awaited; 103 inmates admitted till Sunday

Mumbai: Authorities are no closer to finding the reason behind nearly 100 inmates of Byculla prison falling ill, despite running a battery of tests.

Tests on urine, blood and water samples collected from inmates have not turned up anything harmful, and results of tests on raw food from the prison storage room by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are awaited. The FDA has also collected samples of doxycycline, given to inmates as a preventive measure.

Sources said the water had already been chlorinated by the time BMC collected samples. Also, the FDA could collect only raw food samples as cooked food was unavailable when its inspectors visited. All samples were collected on July 20, after more than 80 inmates complaining of stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting were taken to the State-run JJ Hospital. By July 22, this number had gone up to 103, including a four-month-old baby, but many were discharged.

The FDA has collected rice, wheat, whole masoor, refined soyabean oil and flattened rice. “We’re testing raw food samples for adulteration, harmful chemical or foreign material,” Shailesh Adhav, Joint Commissioner (Food), said. He added the inspectors have made suggestions for improvements to the prison kitchen, and reports will take over a week.

On Monday, 16 inmates were being treated at JJ Hospital, including 13 women, two men and the baby. Dr. Wiqar Shaikh, HoD (Medicine), said, “All patients were stable after admission. We immediately started them on intravenous fluids, antibiotics, anti-vomiting and oral rehydration salts.” He diagnosed their illness as a monsoon-related ailment due to contaminated food or water.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 11:39:43 PM |

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