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Tue 14 Aug 2007 12:41 PM

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Shawarmas banned in Jordan

UPDATE 2pm: Cases of salmonella poisoning rise to 237, 120 people still receiving treatment in hospital.

The number of food poisoning cases resulting from the salmonella outbreak in Jordan has risen to 237, a health department offical said today.

Director General of the Balqa Health Department Khalid Hiari said a total of 120 people were still receiving treatment in hospital after eating chicken shawarmas at a restaurant in a Palestinian refugee camp close to Amman, according to the Jordan News Agency.

The government has banned restaurants across the kingdom from serving the Arab world’s favourite sandwich following the outbreak, and given no indication as to when the ban will be lifted.

Acting health minister Mohammed Al-Thneibat said this week that 600 restaurants are included in the ban as a precautionary measure. The sale of homemade mayonnaise is also been outlawed.

Salmonella poisoning can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases the bacteria can also cause typhoid and paratyphoid fever.

The restaurant from where the outbreak originated, located in Baqaa around 27 kilometres northwest of Jordan’s capital, has now been closed and its owner and staff arrested. The owner is facing up to three years in prison and a fine.

Last year hundreds of people in Jordan were struck down with food poisoning after eating shawarmas.

Following the outbreak, authorities began a campaign to clamp down on fast food restaurants not adhering to health and safety regulations.

Last month two ministers quit over the water contamination scandal in that has saw more than a 1,000 Jordanians needing hospital treatment.

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