In South Africa, two Mpumalanga siblings have died after allegedly eating instant noodles and the devastated family has advised other people not to eat noodle packets.
An investigation is underway into the deaths of five children in two separate incidents, which some fear may have resulted from eating instant noodles.
Thato Makofane, 9, and her brother Keamogetswe Makofane, 13, from Mpumalanga, were declared dead just hours apart after being rushed to a local clinic.
Mpho Chosen Makofane, their uncle, claims that the pair had eaten instant noodles before going to school and complained of having cramps after a while.
Thato is said to have left the house on her own, while her brother stayed behind to finish homework. He left shortly afterward but, within minutes, returned home to tell his mother, Motlatsi, that his sister had collapsed near the bus stop.
Motlatsi and another family member rushed to the bus stop where Thato, who was a Grade 4 pupil at Osiweni Primary School, was picked up and rushed to a nearby clinic. She was certified as dead shortly after she arrived.
While his sister was rushed to the clinic, Keamogetswe and his two-year-old brother stayed behind at home.
While at the clinic, Motlasi called a neighbor to check up on the kids but when the neighbor arrived at the house, she found Keamogetswe lying on the floor.
She called Motlatsi to inform her about the boy. Motlatsi rushes back home to collect her son, but when they arrived at the clinic, he was also declared dead.
Mpho said that: “We are broken as a family because we never thought that something like this would happen to us.”
“We haven’t heard anything from the police, and we went to inquire at the forensic about the post mortem result. We were informed that they would get back to us once they had received the results from the lab in Pretoria,” he added.
Mpho said that waiting for the results and not knowing what happened to his beloved niece and nephew is taking a toll on them. He added the family will reveal the noodles brand when the autopsy results are available.
Winnie Makofane, the children’s grandmother, told the media at their funeral this weekend that the family suspected the noodles, which she believed were poisoned, might have caused their deaths.
Police have confirmed they are investigating two inquest cases, but they cannot speculate on whether the deaths were caused by contaminated food.
Spokesperson Busisiwe Mthethwa said: “The post-mortem is already done, and we’ll just get the results from the relevant department.”
During the post-mortem, it could not be established what the cause of death was. Tissue samples of both children were taken and sent to the police forensic laboratory in Pretoria for analysis. The children were buried on Sunday.
Mthethwa also said they could not immediately link these deaths to the recent case of three Eastern Cape children who died under similar circumstances also shortly after eating noodles.
A similar incident occurred just a week before in the Eastern Cape where two children and a baby died after reportedly eating a packet of instant noodles.
Sinothando Ngwendu, 11, Olwam Ngwendu, 7, and Athenkosi Ngwendu, four-month-old, died after eating instant noodles bought from a convenience store while visiting their grandparents. After the meal, the children complained of stomach cramps and sickness and reportedly died on their way to the hospital in different cars.
SAPS said in a statement: “They stayed over and on Sunday, the 11-year-old girl went to the shop and bought a packet of noodles. She then cooked it and the three children ate it before leaving to go back to Motherwell.”
When they arrived home, Ngwendu complained about feeling nausea. Her grandmother gave her some water to drink. But then her cousin Olwam also experienced stomach cramps and queasiness. Sadly, both of them died on their to the Motherwell Clinic.
Not long after the two cousins had left for medical attention, Olwam’s baby brother, Athenkosi, also died on the way to the hospital in a separate vehicle.
Murdock Ramathuba, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, confirmed to EWN that the two sets of children had eaten noodles produced by different brands.
Ramathuba said: “We had a meeting on Friday with one of the brand owners and we have requested a meeting with the other brand owners, which we could not meet over the weekend. We are hoping to meet with them today to just go over what could have gone wrong.”
South Africa’s Department of Health has launched an investigation into whether or not food poisoning played a role in all five children’s tragic deaths. It is currently awaiting conclusive lab results from samples of the noodles that were ingested, but a spokesperson said that initial tests did not raise any red flags.
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