Fatal food

Published: Thursday 15 August 1996

in one of the worst outbreaks of food poisoning in Japan, four children lost their lives and over 4,000 more have been taken ill. The poisoning cases were primarily reported from the Sakai, in Osaka Prefecture, the second-largest city in Japan. The Escherichia coli 0157 bacterium strain has been found to be responsible for the outbreak.

Health officials believe that eel sushi -- a summer dish made of raw uncooked eel -- which is packed in boxed lunches for school children and office workers, could have harboured the bacterium. The bug is found in undercooked meat, poultry, dairy products and water and causes severe stomach pain, diarrhoea, bleeding and kidney damage.

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