JOHOR BARU: Up to 99 students of the Muar Vocational College came down with food poisoning on Sunday evening after enjoying a seafood 'shellout' meal as part of a year-end celebration.

State Health, Environment, Education and Information Executive Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that as of midnight, 30 students were being treated at the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital.

Another 30 students sought medical help at the Maharani Health Clinic, while 39 others were treated at the college by health personnel.

"The students showed symptoms of stomach ache, diarrhoea, stomach cramps and headache. They began exhibiting the symptoms at about 3.30pm on Sunday," said Ayub.

He said the shellout seafood, especially the mussels which were prepared by the kitchen staff of the college's hostel, are the suspected cause of the mass food poisoning.

"Samples from the food and water served, as well as swabs from the food handlers and the kitchen equipment, were sent to the Johor Baru Public Health Laboratory for analysis (on Monday)," said Ayub.

He added that the hostel's kitchen has been ordered closed for three days until Tuesday under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

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A view of Muar Vocational College , where 99 of its students came down with food poisoning yesterday. Pix by Adi Safri