In Brits, North West, an inquest into possible food poisoning has been initiated following the deaths of two children, ages three and ten, reportedly after eating a meal including chicken feet.
Brits inquest: Chicken feet dinner linked to children’s deaths
The family, residing in Regorogile in Sonop, outside Brits, experienced this tragedy on the evening of Friday, 17 November 2023, police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone confirmed in a statement.
Early indications suggest a 32-year-old woman prepared a dinner consisting of pap, chicken feet, and wheat for her family. The meal was also shared with three neighbouring children.
Tragically, the children fell ill and began vomiting in the early hours of Saturday.
An ambulance was called to the scene following the incident. While one child was declared dead at the scene, the others, including the neighbours’ children and the woman who cooked the meal, were rushed to Brits Hospital for urgent medical care.
The second child succumbed to the illness in the hospital. Two other children were in critical condition and were transferred to George Mukhari Hospital for further treatment.
The police are conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. This includes the collection and testing of food samples to determine the cause of the illness and deaths, Brig Mokgwabone confirmed.
The incident comes amid several outbreaks of avian influenza in South Africa. Poultry farms across the nation are grappling with the highly contagious viral infection. Two strains, influenza A(H5N1) and influenza A(H7N6), have been identified in these outbreaks.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRD) has reported numerous cases across multiple provinces since April 2023.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), while the risk of transmission from birds to humans is extremely low, the coinciding outbreaks raise concerns in the context of this incident.