SINGAPORE: The number of people affected by a suspected gastroenteritis outbreak at several PCF Sparkletots pre-school centres has increased to 222, from 184 previously.
In an update on Friday (Mar 29), a PCF Sparketots spokesperson said the students and staff members affected were from 12 centres. This is up from seven centres on Wednesdays.
As of 4pm on Thursday, 25 of those cases were hospitalised. Eleven have since been discharged while the rest are in stable condition.
The spokesperson also confirmed that all the affected centres had used the services of Kate’s Catering.
“Temporary food arrangements have already been made to provide meals from an in-house cook with the requisite certification or from another caterer,” the spokesperson said.
Seven of the affected preschools are located at Block 210, Block 270, Block 290A, Block 298B, Block 262A, Block 208 and Block 231 at Sengkang Central.
The other affected preschools are at Block 146A and Block 79B at Toa Payoh Central, Block 326 at Punggol Coast and Block 221 at Paya Lebar. The PCF Sparkletots preschool at Punggol North was also affected.
"We are taking this matter seriously and our priority remains to ensure that our children receive the necessary medical care and attention, and to provide the relevant support for all affected parties,” said PCF CEO Victor Bay.
Mr Bay added that they are in close contact with the affected parents and are monitoring the children’s conditions: “Together with the principals and teachers, my senior management and I have been visiting affected children in hospitals and extending as much help as we can to these families.”
He added that PCF will continue to assist the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and other regulators with their investigations.
In a statement on Friday, MOH also said that 16 cases of food poisoning or foodborne illness were reported at the P.L.A.N Student Care Centre.
Investigations into all cases are ongoing, MOH said.
"Food poisoning or foodborne illness often causes vomiting and diarrhoea which may lead to dehydration, especially in young children and the elderly. It is important for affected persons to rehydrate by drinking plenty of fluids and seek medical attention if necessary," MOH added.