School children in poison scare

TERRIFIED primary schoolchildren from Suffolk were taken to hospital with vomiting and stomach cramps yesterday after being poisoned by a daffodil bulb mistakenly put in their soup.

Simon Tomlinson

TERRIFIED primary schoolchildren from Suffolk were taken to hospital with vomiting and stomach cramps yesterday after being poisoned by a daffodil bulb mistakenly put in their soup.

Pupils from Gorseland Primary School burst into tears amid worries they had caught swine flu or something even more sinister.

The soup had been made in class using onions dug from their vegetable garden, but a daffodil bulb was also unearthed accidentally by one of the children and put in the dish.

Around a dozen Year Five pupils began vomiting in bowls and toilets, while others suffered stomach cramps.

Nine-year-old Abby Josey started getting stomach pains around ten minutes after eating the food.

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She said: “I was worried and thought it was really serious.

“Some of my friends were saying it was swine flu. Everyone was really tense, worrying and crying because they thought it was really dangerous and thought they might die.”

A medical incident team was despatched to the school, in Deben Avenue, Martlesham, at about 2.30pm and assembled the children in the hall to brief them on the outbreak.

Abby, who lives in nearby Dobbs Drift, and eleven other pupils were taken in two minibus ambulances to Ipswich Hospital for check-ups before being released later that afternoon.

Worried parents also dashed to the school to take their children to see medics.

Abby's mother, Leigh Josey, 46, said: “I was really worried and panicky, but thankfully she is fine now.”

Abby's friend, Abbie Johnson, 10, said the drama had been caused by a simple mistake.

Abbie, of Jeavons Lane, Kesgrave, said: “When we were picking the onions one of the children picked a daffodil instead. I started having tummy aches. People were saying it was swine flu.”

Her grandmother, Rose Johnson, was picking Abbie's younger brother up from the nursery at the school when she was alerted.

She said: “I was concerned. I was asked to go to the hall where the paramedics were talking to the children.

“The school were extremely good and reacted very quickly.”

No one at the school was available for comment yesterday, but a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Unfortunately, a daffodil bulb was used by mistake, making a number of the children sick.

“The school immediately called NHS Direct and the children's parents, and an incident team was rushed to the school.

“Twelve children were taken to Ipswich Hospital as a precautionary measure, but were allowed home later in the afternoon.”

DAFFODILS are beautiful plants, but they can be highly dangerous, especially to dogs.

While most plants are not toxic, all parts of the daffodil plant, a member of the lily family, are poisonous.

Symptoms in humans include diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

There have been several reports of people eating daffodil bulbs by mistake, including a woman who poisoned herself and her dinner party guests by grabbing daffodils instead of onions when she didn't bother to switch on the lights in her garage.

Dogs, who can be indiscriminate eaters, are very susceptible and can become seriously ill or even die if they consume about 15grams or more of daffodil bulbs.

Daffodils - aka narcissus pseudonarcissus - are not the only toxic flowers.

You should also make sure you don't accidentally eat the star-of-Bethlehem - which can be mistaken for spring onions or wild garlic - the hyacinth, the autumn crocus or the snowdrop.