Two children died and more than 60 others, most of whom are children, are undergoing treatment after they had food at a feast held at the Hanuman temple on Tuesday night at the Mudvari village, Panna.
The children are being treated at hospitals at Panna, Satna and Pawai. The district administration has called it a case of food poisoning but some patients who had not consumed the food blame it on contaminated drinking water.
About 1,000 villagers participated in the community feast. Subsequently, many of them, particularly children, complained of severe stomach pain, vomiting, loose motion and shivering. Some adults also showed similar symptoms.
About 60-65 affected persons were rushed to hospitals. However, two children - Ramji (7) and Sekhar (8)- died at the Satna District Hospital while undergoing treatment.
Most of those still undergoing treatment are children in age group of 6 to 15 years.
Cabinet minister Kusum Mehdale, collector SN Singh and SP IP Arjariya visited the village and the hospital. The food department and public health engineering (PHE) department have taken food and water samples and are conducting an inquiring into the matter.
According to officials, the drinking water at the feast was brought in a tanker filled from a nearby borewell.
SN Singh said 14 children are admitted at Satna, 29 at the Panna district hospital and four at the Pawai Community Health Centre.
Panna civil surgeon Dr Rajesh Shrivastava said that it is not clear whether food poisoning or unsafe drinking water led to this situation. Inspection of the place and sample tests will reveal the exact cause.