One person died while 40 others experienced severe stomach pains following suspected food poisoning at a funeral in Nyazura last week.
The deceased, William Mubvumbi, was among 50 villagers who were digging a grave for the late Emas Chiwanza.
They were served sadza and beef stew which had been stored in some plastic containers.
The food had been prepared in Odzi about 42km away from where Chiwanza was initially supposed to be buried.
It is believed that keeping the food in plastic containers for a long time may have resulted in the poisoning.
Acting Makoni District Medical Officer, Dr Hospea Maringe also confirmed the poisoning incident and Mubvumbi’s death. Said Maringe:
We attended to the body of William Mubvumbi who died on his way to Rusape General Hospital.
We collected samples which we will forward to pathologists who will determine the type of poison that claimed his life.
Food poison is broad and the specialists will determine whether it was chemical, bacterial or something else.
The other 12 affected people who came on Saturday were treated and discharged on Sunday. They were all stable.
Mubvumbi’s uncle, Bonus Chadereka, narrated to The Manica Post the events leading to his nephew’s death. He said:
Last Saturday morning, Mr Mubvumbi left for the Chiwanza funeral. He was among the grave diggers which comprised fellow community members and some Chiwanza relatives. They were served some food and he later started complaining of a stomach ache.
He came back home and did not sleep well due to stomach pains. His condition deteriorated last Sunday morning as he was no longer speaking.
We hired a vehicle to ferry him to Rusape General Hospital, but unfortunately, he died on the way.
We inquired what had really transpired and we learnt that more members of the community were complaining of stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The villagers told us that they started experiencing this after eating food at the gravesite.
About 40 people needed urgent attention, 12 were rushed to Rusape General Hospital and the rest were treated at Nyazura Clinic.
Post mortem was done on Mr Mubvumbi and the doctor confirmed the cause of death as food poisoning. He was buried in Manica Bridge, Muchinguri Village.
The Chiwanza family spokesperson, Collin Chiwanza, suspect that the plastic containers may have contaminated the food. He said:
Food was prepared for the gravediggers, unfortunately, the beef stew was put in a plastic bucket and sealed to avoid spilling it on its way to Nyazura.
From what we have learnt, the food was not supposed to be in a plastic container, and delays in serving it rendered it poisonous. More than 50 people, including Emas’ son, consumed the food.
In fact, the person who was serving the food is among those affected. We mourn with the Mubvumbi family over the loss of their relative.