126 DomRep students fall ill after free meals

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 7:45 PM
126 DomRep students fall ill after free meals

Officials say 126 students were sickened Thursday after eating free school breakfasts despite the Dominican government's efforts to resolve past problems with tainted school food.

The latest illnesses occurred at a public school in the southern city of Azua. Nine students ranging in age from 6 to 12 were hospitalized, said Rafael Herasme, a local hospital director.

Education Minister Melanio Walls said samples of subsidized milk, juice and bread served to needy Azua youngsters who later came down with fever and nausea would be analyzed.

The government has been struggling with similar problems since February, when dozens of students fell ill at a school in the country's north. Dozens more in other schools were later sickened.

The Dominican government suspended the subsidized breakfasts in late May but later reinstated them. International health officials were helping to monitor free school breakfasts.

Government officials originally thought milk was to blame for the school illnesses and banned it from meals in late April. But students kept getting sick, and lab tests showed no problems with it.