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Compiled by Jarryd Westerdale

Digital Journalist

Four children die of suspected poisoning near Midrand

The children were taken to Rabie Ridge Clinic and Tembisa Hospital but sadly passed away at the facilities.

Four children from Kanana informal settlement have died after coming into contact with a poison associated with fighting rat infestations.

The four children were taken to Rabie Ridge Clinic after they complained of nausea and stomach aches, while also foaming at the mouth and appearing weak.

One child was declared dead upon arrival at the clinic, while two more died at the health facility. The fourth child was taken to Tembisa Hospital where they unfortunately succumbed to the poison.

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The City of Johannesburg’s health department confirmed the 8 May incident, stating on 14 May:

“The children were believed to have ingested the poison while playing and mixing different food items with soil. A container containing a pink-coloured material was discovered and has been sent to the laboratory for testing.”

The department is now investigating a case of organophosphate poisoning linked to a substance called Aldicarb, which is a pesticide that affects the synaptic receptors.

Environmental investigations of the children’s homes were conducted, and further investigations will include laboratory and clinical analysis.  

The incubation period of such a poisoning ranges from one to 72 hours and symptoms include foaming at the mouth, leaking tear ducts, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, sweating, tremors and confusion.

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The department’s statement concluded:

“The Johannesburg Health Department urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious symptoms or incidents related to poisoning promptly. Further updates on the investigation will be provided as more information becomes available.”

41 children hospitalised for rat poisoning

41 children aged between three and five were taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in April after mistaking rat poison for sweets.

ALSO READ: 41 children hospitalised after rat poison consumption

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDH) explained that the incident occurred at a pre-school. Twenty-four children were discharged while 17 remained in hospital for overnight observation.

The GDH stressed to parents and caregivers the importance of monitoring children’s food, as they revealed 863 cases of foodborne incidents had been recorded between October 2023 and April 2024.