More than 20 students have been hospitalized after having a meal at their school in Henan Province, China. A teacher is suspected of intentionally poisoning the students, China’s state media reported on March 27.
Parents said many students vomited and had passed out after eating at their school, according to the Beijing News. Several other student’s faces had gone pale.
Many parents had their children taken to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped and put on intravenous fluids.
One parent, named Hu, told the Beijing News that he recalls over 10 students were hospitalized.
After being in the hospital for several days, the students were all released. They were diagnosed with nitrite poisoning.
Nitrite poisoning can lead to bluish skin, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness, or comas, according to the Center for Disease Control (pdf).
Parents commented that all the afflicted students were in only one of the school’s kindergarten classes. The class altogether has 24 students.
That day, a sweet porridge was served to the children. Some students said the porridge was sweet, while others said it was salty.
After investigation, authorities found that a teacher had secretly added nitrite to the porridge. The teacher has been detained, and an investigation is ongoing.
The Upstream News reported that the poisoning occurred because of a conflict between two teachers at the school. No further details were given.
Nitrite, and other poisonous chemicals, have been used on young children in the past in China.
In 2018, kindergarten students were poisoned by nitrite in Hebei Province. 90 students were hospitalized, with no deaths reported. Local authorities claimed that nitrite was mistaken for salt, but doubts emerged because nitrite was never stored in the cafeteria.
100 students were poisoned at a kindergarten in Jilin Province in 2018. They suffered from stomach pains, vomiting, fevers, nosebleeds, bloody stool, and other symptoms. At first, it was believed to be food poisoning. But later, through blood testing, it was found that the students were given rat poison.
In February 2011, 136 kindergarten students were poisoned in a similar way. The students were sent to five local hospitals, and no deaths were reported.
Epoch Times reporter Lin Shiyuan contributed to this report.