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Chemical used in nerve agents found in toxic chicken

Western Cape
Cape Argus - The State forensic chemistry lab confirmed that organophosphate was the substance that killed two children and hospitalised seven others after they ate a chicken at the Samora Machel settlement in Philippi.

Mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith said the state forensic chemistry lab informed the city of the results.

“A toxicology report shows that the two children who died after eating poisonous chicken in Samora Machel in Philippi last Sunday suffered organophosphate poisoning. The substance is commonly used in insecticides, medications and nerve agents."

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Grieving and traumatised Nophelo Sofie Ngqiba, centre, who has lost a child and a grandchild to suspected food poisoning, is comforted by a relative Noncedo Fukuse. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA Pictures

"The three children who are at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and aman in Groote Schuur Hospital are in a stable condition after eating the same meal. We have handed over the information to the police.”

Director of Health for City of Cape Town, Dr Waisa Fareed said: “The city’s bacteriological lab is analysing the full chicken that remained at the vendor as well as the gravy of the chicken left in the pot. We will only confirm the results once we receive them from the laboratory.”

Anele Ngqiba, 6, and Asemahle Ngqiba, 4, died after eating a cooked chicken, apparently bought from a neighbour in Samora Machel. Three adults, including Asemahle’s grandfather, Mxolisi Mhaga, and three cousins became ill. On Sunday, Asemahle and Mhaga ate from a pot in which the chicken, sold live and usually slaughtered and plucked on the day, had been cooked.

Cape Argus

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