Cyanide in cassava may be blamed in poisoning

THE three siblings in Dumanjug town showed manifestation that they were poisoned by the cyanide content of the cassava they ate last weekend, according to Provincial Health Office (PHO) Head Cynthia Genosolango.

Six-year-old Noven Monteza of Barangay Balaygtiki in Dumanjug died, while his brother Dexter, 2, and sister Marilyn, 9, were confined in a public hospital.

According to the reports received by the PHO, it was last Sunday when the Monteza siblings ate cassava for dinner together with their parents.

Genosolango said the children started vomiting and complained of abdominal pain on Monday.

She said the children were brought to the Barili District Hospital (BDH), but Noven died in their house.

“So as of the moment, until proven otherwise, it is our impression that this is caused by a cyanide poisoning, which is (found) in the cassava or kamoteng kahoy,” Genosolango told reporters.

She said they had seen a number of cases with the history of eating cassava with the same manifestations shown by the Monteza siblings.

Toxicology

“And it has been proven by toxicology studies that cyanide ni sya (will be produced by the cassava if prepared incorrectly), which is very fatal once it gets to our system,” Genosolango said.

There is no prohibition for children to eat cassava as long as it is well-cooked.

“Actually, we don’t have a specific advisory nga dili ta pwedeng maka-consume og (that people are not allowed to eat) cassava or kamoteng kahoy so long as it is well-cooked. In the process, (cooking the cassava well) can probably destroy, if there is any, the cyanide content,” she said.

Dexter and Marilyn were given initial medication like intravenous fluids after they were brought to BDH.

They were later referred to Carcar Provincial Hospital where they were being observed.

Genosolango already instructed the Provincial Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (ESU) to forward the report to the Regional ESU so that they can also respond to the incident.

PO1 Vilma Caballero, Dumanjug Police Station alert team leader, said that the parents of the children could not afford to buy medicines for their children. They are also living far from the town center.

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