ST. CAHTERINE, Jamaica – A mysterious case of food poisoning has claimed the lives of two persons in the Walkers Avenue area of Gregory Park, St. Catherine, sparking panic throughout the small community.
Two persons have also been hospitalised. As a result of the incident, several other persons who drank the same milky, fruit-flavoured, nutritious drink are in a state of panic.
Dead are Lisa Moncrieffe, a 14-year-old student of Braeton Primary and Junior High, along with her 17-year-old cousin Keibian Duhaney. Their neighbours Denvor Taylor, 28, and Anstead McFarlane, 19, are in hospital.
A sea of black flags hoisted aloft in the little dirt-lane, tells the story of a community in deep mourning. Almost everybody had a piece of black cloth pinned to their clothing.
Residents said the boxes of drinks were distributed to them last week by persons affiliated to a church in the area. Contacted yesterday, the Ministry of Health said it was not aware of the situation.
Geraldine Pennant said her son Keibian drank two boxes of the drink and began complaining of stomach pains last Monday.
“We took him back to the doctor Sunday night and while on the hospital bed, he just passed out. We saw blood coming from his nose,” said Mr. Duhaney’s grandmother, 51-year-old Veronica Pitterson.
Sheryll Francis, the 30-year-old mother of young Lisa Moncrieffe, said her daughter took a turn for the worse on Sunday night. She attempted to get her to the Spanish Town Hospital, but the recent outbreak of violence prevented them from entering that part of the Old Capital.
“We had to turn back and rushed her to the Kingston Public Hospital. She died in my arms when we reached the causeway road. We saw froth and blood coming from her nose and mouth,” related Ms. Francis.
A spokesperson at the American-based company responsible for manufacturing the product which residents claimed poisoned them, said his company has not received any complaints about the product. “I have no idea of any complaints,” the spokesperson emphasised.