More than 150 students at a boarding school in Kuala Nerang, Malaysia, were sickened with a foodborne illness. The government’s news agency Bernama reported that seven of the students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dato Syed Ahmad were admitted to the hospital and that two have already been discharged. The other five are reported to be in stable condition.

Ayam Masak Merah, JueAsna/Flickr
Kedah state health director Ismail Abu Taat said the food poisoning was caused by Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in spicy tomato sauce) probably contaminated with Salmonella bacteria because of improperly preserved chicken. “Salmonella bacteria is naturally present in chicken intestines, but the food handler had not cooked and stored the chicken properly, thus causing the bacteria to release high levels of toxin,” he told Bernama. “Earlier, pupils had complained that the Ayam Masak Merah had gone bad and was emanating an odor, but the food handlers ignored them and told them to just eat until the pupils started vomiting and having diarrhea.” In total, 158 students had diarrhea and vomiting and 117 received outpatient treatment at the hospital before 110 pupils were allowed to return to the school.