Sandbox tree seeds cause mass poisoning at Central Highlands school

14 middle school students in the Central Highlands’ Lam Dong Province were hospitalized due to poisoning after eating sandbox tree seeds that dropped on school grounds.

The students at the Quang Trung middle school in Bao Lam District were rushed to the district medical center on March 23. Doctors said they suffered from poisoning after eating sandbox tree seeds. They displayed symptoms such as fatigue and nausea.

They recovered on Tuesday.

Following the poisoning, the Lam Dong Department of Health has requested schools to deal with the sandbox trees planted within school grounds and erect signs to issue toxicity warnings. Schools are also recommended to remove poisonous plants from school grounds.

The sandbox tree (Hura crepitans) is commonly planted in tropical regions to provide shade. Its seeds contain curcin, a toxic protein, that may affect one’s digestive system. Symptoms include headache, diarrhea and vomiting, and severe cases may include hemorrhaging.

Sandbox trees are commonly planted in many schools in central Vietnam. Several cases of poisoning after ingesting their seeds have been recorded in the past.

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