The number of people taken ill in a gastroenteritis outbreak affecting pre-schools has increased to 257 from 238 as of Friday afternoon (29 March), with one more PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots pre-schools centre affected on top of the 12 previously announced.
Of the 241 across 13 affected Sparkletots centres, 229 children and 12 staff members were taken ill, said a PCF spokesperson on Monday.
Including the additional 16 cases at P.L.A.N. Student Care Centre announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday, this brings the total tally to 257. According to a MOH media statement on Monday, all cases from 19 to 28 March had onset of gastroenteritis symptoms.
The PCF spokesperson added that of the 31 people – all children – hospitalised, 30 have been discharged with the remaining child in stable condition.
No staff members were hospitalised and they are currently managing well, said the spokesperson.
“Senior management, principals and teachers have also been visiting affected children in hospital and extended help to these families. We will support families who are in need of financial assistance as a result of the medical expenses incurred in relation to this incident,” the spokesperson added.
The affected Sparkletots centre announced on Monday is located at Block 303A Punggol Coast.
The 12 centres previously announced consisted of seven located in Sengkang Central at Blocks 262A, 208, 210, 270, 231, 290A and 298B Sengkang Central. The other five are located at Punggol North, Blocks 326 Punggol Coast, 221 Paya Lebar as well as 79B and 146A Toa Payoh Central.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said in a joint statement last week that the gastroenteritis outbreak was traced to food prepared by Kate’s Catering, which has since had its licence suspended by the NEA.
All affected Sparkletots centres and P.L.A.N. were served food from the caterer, which had its licence suspended by the National Environment Agency (NEA) last Tuesday.
The PCF has also terminated the caterer’s services as a precautionary measure on the same day and implemented alternative meal arrangements at all 16 centres previously served by them. From August last year, 35 out of 356 Sparkletots centres used catering services while the remaining rely on in-house cooks, as of 20 March.
Staff at these centres have stepped up the cleaning and disinfection protocols, said the PCF spokesperson. From August last year, 35 out of 356 Sparkletots centres used catering services while the remaining rely on in-house cooks, as of 20 March.
“We continue to stay vigilant at all 356 centres, with daily temperature taking and regular cleaning and disinfection of premises,” added the spokesperson.
Investigations into the cases are ongoing.
In February, 30 children and one employee were affected following a gastroenteritis outbreak at the MindChamps pre-school’s Tanglin branch.
In November last year, another outbreak of the disease linked to the River Valley branch of Spize Restaurant saw 72 people affected. Among them was Sats employee Fadli Salleh, 38, who subsequently died as a result of his illness.