Chronology of food poisoning epidemic in Japan
July 25, 1996
Web posted at: 10:15 a.m. EDT (1415 GMT)
JAPAN (CNN) -- The following is a chronology of the food
poisoning epidemic caused by colon bacteria that has
afflicted more than 8,000 people and killed eight in Japan.
May 28 - Food poisoning reported in three primary
(elementary) schools and one kindergarten in Kuji town in
western Japan's Okayama Prefecture.
May 31 - Food poisoning traced to the O-157 colon bacteria
which is found in some 200 patients in Kuji. School lunches
are suspected as a source of the tainted food.
June 1 - Seven-year-old girl in Kuji dies from O-157
June 5 - Another seven-year-old girl dies in Kuji. School
lunches terminated. Total patients in Okayama Prefecture
stand at 843.
June 8 - Eight-year-old boy dies in Nagoya, Aichi
Prefecture, central Japan.
June 14 - Health Ministry orders local governments to tighten
controls on school lunches.
June 21 - Food poisoning epidemic spreads to Tokyo as well as
Gifu and Nagano prefectures in central Japan.
July 1 - Health Ministry's O-157 research team meets for
July 7 - An 84-year-old woman dies in Kanagawa Prefecture,
south of Tokyo, becoming the fourth victim of the O-157
July 9 - Education Ministry says 1,500 schoolchildren across
nation stricken with O-157 poisoning.
July 11 - A dozen children in Sakai, near Osaka, taken to
hospitals in new food poisoning cases.
July 12 - Another dozen children taken to Sakai hospitals.
July 13 - Sakai city sets up emergency council on food
July 14 - Patients in Sakai top 2,500, mostly
schoolchildren. O-157 germ found in patients. School lunches
prepared by city-run kitchens are the primary suspect.
July 15 - Number of patients reaches 3,000 in Sakai.
July 16 - Sakai patients rise to 4,000. Those infected
include cooks and teachers at schools. City starts probe of
city-run kitchens catering to schools.
July 17 - Number of Sakai patients now 5,000. A seven-year-
old girl reported in critical condition and patients include
32 people not associated with schools in growing secondary
July 18 - Central and prefectural governments decide to set
up Sakai liaison council to coordinate countermeasures.
July 19 - Two schoolgirls, aged seven and 12, reported in
July 20 - Sakai patients top 6,000.
July 21 - Fifth victim dies, a 56-year-old man in Kyoto.
Sakai liaison council holds first meeting. Patients in
serious condition increase to 80.
July 23 - Two more victims die, an 85-year-old woman in
Osaka and a 10-year-old girl in Sakai, bringing to seven
those who have died in the outbreak. Total number of patients
across the country now more than 8,000.
July 24 - Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto announces crash
program to contain the epidemic. He says the problem has
become a "national issue" and indicates he may impose drastic
measures on the food industry. Experts fail to find traces
of the O-157 bacteria in any of the 1,300 food samples taken
from Sakai school lunches.
July 25 - For the first time, there is slight decrease in
number of patients in serious condition in Sakai. But total
number of patients across Japan stands at 8,495, according to
the Health Ministry. Doctors attribute an eighth death to
the bacteria -- a 13-year-old girl who died in May.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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