September 16, 2002
Ng Han Guan
NANJING, China -- A health official reached by telephone at the Jiangsu Province Epidemic Prevention Station was cited as saying that investigators suspect rat poison is to blame for a mass poisoning in eastern China that is believed to have killed dozens of people.
Authorities refused to release a death toll in Saturday's poisonings, traced to a snack shop in the rural outskirts of Nanjing. But state media suggested dozens of people might have been killed, including children, and more
than 200 people were sickened.
State television on Sunday showed children lying two or three to a bed in a hospital and others being treated in hallways. Other people being treated included elderly people and some wearing military fatigues.
Investigators on Monday were combing through the food-processing factory that supplied the shop.
A narrow street leading to the factory was closed at both ends, but reporters could see investigators in white gloves examining the ground outside.