Thousands hospitalized due to candy poisoning in Surigao del Sur

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People in at least six towns and a city in Surigao del Sur were poisoned after they ate candy on Friday (July 10).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — At least 1,900 people in at least six towns and a city in Surigao del Sur were hospitalized on Friday (July 10) after being allegedly poisoned by durian candy.

Surigao del Sur Provincial Health Officer Dr. Jerry Irrizari clarified to CNN Philippines that no fatality was recorded in the province.

Earlier, administrative officer Marcelinita Pareja reported that the candy poisoning resulted in one death.

Irrizari said that Pareja might have been overwhelmed by the increasing number of patients coming in for treatment in various government and private hospitals in the province due to food poisoning.

“I was just overwhelmed, shocked maybe of the number of victims of food poisoning," Pareja, who made the correction herself, said. "The reason why when someone from CNN Philippines called and interviewed me at past 3 p.m, I said maybe one casualty of poisoning. But when I re-checked it no one died so far."

The victims of the candy poisoning, most of which are children, were treated in several hospitals in the area.

Surigao del Sur information officer Marjorie Pagaran told CNN Philippines that patients were brought for treatment at the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical and the Center Surigao del Sur Provincial Capitol Social Hall.

"One hundred thirty nine patients are now also confined at Marihatag District Hospital in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur because of food poisoning from the durian candy with the label Wendy's" Pagaran added.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' Mitzi Borromeo on Friday night, Senior Supt. Narciso Vervader said that investigators have counted 376 cases of poisoning so far.

According to S/Supt. Vervader, the candies were from ambulant vendors from Davao City who sold not only durian but also mango and mangosteen candies.

"The first thing I did when I got the report from the chief of police in the municipality of Cagwait, I immediately issued an instruction to track down and arrest these ambulant vendors," Vervader said.

CNN Philippines regional stringer Benedict Serrano contributed to this story.