Pesticide poisoning likely culprit as 10 hospitalised in Dubai

Neighbours fumigated apartment using banned substances

Deadly pesticide sticks of aluminium phosphide
Image Credit: Supplied
The victims started vomiting around 3am on Wednesday and all of them had diarrhoea. They were rushed to the Iranian Hospital and Dubai Police was informed. This picture is for illustrative purpose only.
Gulf News

Dubai: Ten people were hospitalised on Wednesday morning in a case of suspected pesticide poisoning, Gulf News has learnt.

The victims started vomiting around 3am on Wednesday and all of them had diarrhoea. They were rushed to the Iranian Hospital and Dubai Police was informed. They were all discharged by Thursday afternoon.

The victims are reported to have started feeling unwell after opening the windows to their apartment.

All ten are employed by Sky Jewellery, which is located at the Gold Souk, opposite Naif Police Station. They all hail from Kerala, India, and share an apartment provided by the employer. While the hospital initially believed it to be a case of food poisoning, officials ruled out that possibility following investigations. Both Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality are carrying out further investigations.

A source said food poisoning was unlikely as five of the victims had food from one restaurant while the other five ate from another.

Dubai Municipality officials said that although initially food or water poisoning was suspected, investigations were pointing to pesticide poisoning as the cause. Furthermore, pesticide cans were retrieved by the police from the apartment next door.

According to the source, poisonous fumes could have filtered into the victims' apartment through the central AC duct.

The Chinese nationals who stay in the neighbouring apartment left the apartment after it was fumigated. It is understood that they left the AC running, which could have led to the fumes filtering next door.

Explosion

In addition, one of the several cans confiscated from the apartment, and placed in the corridor as officials carried out their investigations, exploded. Civil Defence was called in to contain the situation but none was injured.

A municipality official said the pesticides used were all banned and are extremely toxic. "These people would have been dead had they not received treatment at the right time," the municipality official said.

While one can of the pesticide is adequate, the residents of the fumigated apartment are believed to have used five cans.