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Mazu pilgrims sent to hospitals due to suspected food poisoning

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Worshipers participate in the pilgrimage of the sea goddess Mazu.

At least 70 out of thousands of worshipers participating in a pilgrimage of the sea goddess Mazu in Pingtung County were taken to hospitals Saturday, possibly due to food poisoning, local health authorities said.

According to the county's Public Health Bureau, it received a report at 4:42 p.m. that many pilgrims taking part in the Dec. 1-3 event in southern Taiwan had fallen ill.

As of 8:30 p.m., 29 people remained hospitalized in Fooyin University Hospital or Antai Tian-Sheng Memorial Hospital, while the rest were discharged after being treated, the bureau said.

It added that it has started on-site investigations to see if there are violations against the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.

A Mazu devotee surnamed Chen (陳) told CNA that he started vomiting and had diarrhea after eating food at a local temple in the afternoon.

He said he later went to a hospital and learned that many people had developed similar symptoms.

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