Associated Press reports that more than 330 school children in western Ukraine were hospitalized with food poisoning, including four who were in critical condition, an emergency official said Saturday.
The first 299 children, aged between 2 and 6, became ill on Friday, possibly from food prepared at seven kindergartens in the Khmelnitsky region. An additional 33 were hospitalized later Saturday, he said.
Health Ministry official Tetiana Yurchenko said a preliminary investigation showed that the source of infection as a dysentery bacteria in kefir, a popular drink made of fermented milk.
“It’s up to the investigation to establish how the dysentery bacteria got in the kefir,” she said.
The Defense Ministry sent military medics and was setting up 60 beds in two military hospitals to help treat the children.
Last year, poor hygiene at state-run dairies caused an outbreak of food poisoning among more than 800 children in the country’s three regions, including the capital, Kyiv.