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Journal Article


Alitubeera PH, Eyu P, Kwesiga B, Ario AR, Zhu BP. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 2019; 68(13): 308-311.


(Copyright © 2019, (in public domain), Publisher U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)






Cassava (Manihot esculenta), an edible tuberous root that is resistant to drought, diseases, and pests, is a major source of carbohydrates in tropical areas, the second most widely grown and consumed food in Uganda after bananas, and a staple in the diet for approximately 57% of the Uganda population (Figure 1) (1). On September 5, 2017, a funeral was held in Kasese District in western Uganda. Following the funeral, 33 persons with symptoms that included diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pains were admitted to Bwera Hospital in Kasese District. On September 8, the Uganda Ministry of Health received notification from the Kasese District health team regarding this outbreak of suspected food poisoning. An investigation to determine the cause of the outbreak and recommend control measures revealed that the outbreak resulted from consumption of a cassava dish made by combining hot water with cassava flour. The implicated batch of cassava flour was traced back to a single wholesaler and found to contain high cyanogenic content. Informed by the investigation findings, police confiscated all cassava flour from retailers identified as the patients' source of the flour. Health education about cyanide poisoning from cassava and the need to adequately process cassava to reduce cyanogenic content was conducted by public health officials.

Language: en


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