A day after 470 children from Baiganwadi slum at Govandi area were rushed to hospitals after a 12-year-old girl died on Friday allegedly from the side effects of iron and folic acid tablets distributed at a BMC-run school, eight children still remain admitted in Rajawadi Hospital.
Till Saturday, 400 children were brought to Rajawadi and another 70 to Govandi Shatabdi Hospital, said Dr Pradeep Jadhav, in-charge of peripheral hospitals in BMC.
“All patients are stable. They complained of nausea, giddiness, vomiting and stomach ache… One child has been diagnosed with dengue, which is not related to the hysteria that led to mass hospitalisation,” said Dr Vidya Thakur, Superintendent of Rajawadi Hospital.
While the tablets were administered at Sanjay Nagar Municipal Urdu School on August 6, Chandani Shaikh, a student of Class VI, died in the early hours of Friday after vomiting blood. Parents of Chandani, who died at 6.30 am, have alleged that she started complaining of stomach ache and burning sensation on Monday. She died en route to Rajawadi hospital. Her post-mortem report has stated that she died due to broncho-pulmonary haemorrhage.
“We are awaiting the final cause of death report. As of now, an accidental death report has been registered,” said Lakhmi Gautam, Additional Commissioner of Police (East Region).
Even as local residents alleged that the child’s health deteriorated and several other students fell ill after consuming the tablets, the BMC is investigating whether local food or water contamination led to the incident. An official from the M East ward said water samples have been collected from the school to check for contamination. “The results are expected by Monday,” the official added.
Also, officials are awaiting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report to check whether the iron and folic acid tablets let to the side effects.
D R Gahane, holding charge of FDA drugs in Mumbai district, said, “The toxicity test of drugs will take 36 hours. Report will take more time.”
The batch of iron and folic acid tablets that were administered to the children has been discontinued as of now. “The tablets from the same batch were distributed in other municipal schools as well but no adverse reactions were reported,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Dean of KEM hospital.
The iron and folic acid tablets are given every week under National Iron Plus Initiative by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prevent anaemia. In this case, 100 mg iron and 500 mg folic acid tablets were given to children aged 10 to 19 years. For children from Class I to V, 45 mg iron and 400 mg folic acid tablet is given. The same tablets are also given to pregnant and lactating women to prevent iron deficiency.