2-day closure after over 180 people fall sick
A SPATE of gastroenteritis cases in the Owen Road area has prompted the authorities to temporarily close Pek Kio Market and Food Centre.
The closure begins today and the place will undergo a thorough cleaning and disinfection before reopening on Friday.
The move comes as more than 180 patients sought medical treatment for symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain in the past week.
In a joint statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and national water agency PUB said the two-day closure was a precautionary measure.
Investigation into the source of the outbreak is ongoing, they added.
MOH said it was alerted last Thursday by a general practitioner at Owen Road, after the clinic witnessed an unusual increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis since May 16.
Investigations found that other clinics in the area had experienced a similar rise.
The victims typically recovered within a few days.
Seven people are warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for observation, with all of them recovering well.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus called rotavirus, resulting in vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain.
Viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by many different viruses and is sometimes called "gastric flu", although it is not related to influenza.
The four agencies collected food and environmental samples from food outlets in the Owen Road area, interviewed and screened stool samples from the affected cases.
They found that the majority of cases stayed near or visited the Owen Road area.
Many of them had also patronised the Pek Kio market, although investigations did not identify any specific food stall as the source of the outbreak.