Nearly 200 students administered iron tablets by the Delhi government complained of stomach ache, vomiting, nausea and restlessness on Wednesday. Eighteen lakh students were given the iron tablets.
Twenty-three of them were taken to different city hospitals after their condition worsened.
The students were administered the tablets under the Delhi government’s recently launched Weekly Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) programme.
Most of them were discharged later in the day, but two were kept under observation at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, sources said.
“Injections and glucose drips were given to the patients to stop vomiting and abdominal pain. Their stomach has been washed and water samples kept for medico-legal examination,” said Dr Atish Sinha, DMS, Sunder Lal Jain Hospital.
“They were brought to the hospital around 9.30pm on Wednesday and were discharged late in the night after their condition improved,” he added.
“A case of causing hurt under Section 337 of the IPC has been registered at the Bharat Nagar police station against unknown persons. The tablets and vomiting samples have been sent for forensic examination” said a senior police officer.
The Delhi health ministry dismissed the incident as mild side-effects of the iron tablets and said that 1 per cent tend to experience stomach cramps, vomiting, loose stool and metallic taste.
“In Delhi, 0.1% of the total beneficiaries have been affected by the tablets’ side-effects, which is common. All students have been discharged and there is nothing to worry about. Once their bodies get used to the tablets, things will go back to normal,” said health minister Ashok Kumar Walia.
A Delhi government release stated that they were following the guidelines laid down by the Union health ministry. The expiry date of the drugs administered is May 2015 and they had been pre-tested in a government-approved laboratory.