40 policemen taken ill

KATHMANDU: Forty police personnel, posted at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), took ill today due to food poisoning.

According to Dr Gajananda P Bhandari, epidemiologist and coordinator of Special Health Desk at the TIA, the patients have been referred to Birendra Police Hospital at Maharajgunj. All of them are suffering from diarrhoea, fever and nausea.

"They eat at a cafeteria. Perhaps, they took ill after consuming pumpkin curry, radish pickle and potato. Tests have confirmed that they are suffering from dysentery," said Dr Bhandari. He urged the public not to mix up stomach upset with the H1N1 virus, popularly known as swine flu, the pandemic.

"Thirty-five personnel have already been discharged from the hospital. The condition of five is being monitored. They are running temperature and complaining of dehydration. Perhaps, this has got to do with water-borne disease during summer," he added. Altogether, 323 police personnel are posted at the TIA. Meanwhile, health officials have intensified their vigil at the airport to prevent outbreak of communicable disease.