Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Saipan Food Poisoning

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): July 2000 - Cholera was not the cause of the food poisoning episode that affected 100 people in Saipan two weeks ago, according to a Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands government official.

In a memo dated June 30 to FSM Assistant Secretary of Health Jefferson Benjamin, Joseph Villagomez, CNMI Secretary of Public Health wrote that results coming back to his office do not lead him to believe that cholera was to blame.

Instead lab test show the poisoning was caused by vibrio parahemolyticus, a causative agent of a food-borne illness associated with eating contaminated raw or cooked fish, shellfish, salad, meat, and vegetables and characterized by headache, chills, stomach, pain, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

The food items in question involved fish and crab. The fish came from Chuuk and the crab came from Kosrae, according to Villagomez.

A recent ban of all cooked and uncooked food items from the FSM to the CNMI includes Yap because, according to Villagomez the CNMI microbiologist "cultured the same Vibrio organism in the crabs coming in from Yap."

Villagomez said strict guidelines on which types of food can and cannot be imported from the FSM will have to be adopted before the ban can be lifted.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356