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Date: January 22, 2017

RAWALPINDI: A teenage boy died and over 81 people were hospitalised after consuming ‘poisonous’ food at a marriage ceremony held in a village at Kalar Syedan, police and hospital officials said on Saturday.

Assistant Commissioner Rab Nawaz Minhas confirmed to Dawn that over 81 people fell ill after consuming food at a wedding ceremony in the Noni Jandran village.

“They consumed food at the marriage ceremony on Thursday night and after falling ill reached a private clinic on Friday where the doctors could not handle them. As a result, they were taken to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) Kalar Syedan by Rescue 1122 officials.”

The official said the THQ hospital had only 50 beds so the local administration arranged additional beds and the hospital utilised all the available medicines to treat the patients, who were complaining of loose motion and vomiting.

“Of the 81 patients, 52 are women and the remaining 29 men and children,” said a doctor of the hospital.

The teenager was identified as Farid, 14. He had been suffering from a kidney disease and was pronounced dead when taken to the THQ hospital.

According to police officials, a large number of people participated in the marriage ceremony and were served with beef, chicken and rice.

A state of emergency has been declared in the hospital while leaves of all the doctors and paramedical staff have been cancelled, said medical superintendent of the hospital Dr Humayun Anwar.

He said a team from the district health office visited Kallar Syedan and collected samples of food for laboratory testing.

He said doctors at the hospital also took samples from the patients and dispatched them to the forensic laboratory in Lahore.

“We have also collected samples of water provided to the guests at the wedding ceremony for a medical examination,” Dr Anwar said.

Deputy Commissioner Talat Mehmood Gondal said the situation was under control, adding 52 of the patients were still in the hospital and the others were discharged. He said the teenager had undergone a kidney operation a few weeks ago and food poisoning was not the actual cause of his death.

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