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Four Yemenis 'died of carbon monoxide poisoning'

By Rana Husseini - Mar 20,2016 - Last updated at Mar 20,2016

AMMAN — Authorities on Sunday said the cause of death of four Yemeni nationals on Saturday was attributed “most probably” to carbon monoxide poisoning at their home in Yasmine suburb.

The officials findings come a day after dozens of media outlets and some officials reported that four of the seven family members had died of apparent food poisoning.

Two family members and two Asian domestic helpers were rushed to hospital in critical condition, officials have said.

Public Security Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Amer Sartawi confirmed on Sunday that foul play and food poisoning were ruled out.

“Our investigations and the crime lab samples taken from the victims who were being treated at hospital confirmed that they suffered poisoning as a result of inhaling carbon monoxide,” Sartawi told The Jordan Times.

Head of the National Institute of Forensic Medicine Kais Koussous, who performed the autopsy with three government pathologists on Saturday, confirmed that it was “a typical carbon monoxide poisoning case”.

“We did not find any signs of struggle or bruises on the four victims’ bodies, and from my experience it is poisoning from carbon monoxide inhalation,” Koussous told The Jordan Times.

But he added that samples were sent to the crime lab “for further examinations”.

Meanwhile, an official source told The Jordan Times that “no bacteria or viruses were found in the food that the family consumed on the day of the incident.”

“The food was examined and it was found to be safe,” the official said over the phone.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Al Hayat Hospital Director Kayed Halaiqa on Saturday as saying that the deceased were two children, three and five years old, the mother and the grandfather.

Those injured from the family are eight and 13 years old, said the director of the hospital, noting that they are in critical condition, while the two others are in fair condition.

A Public Security Department statement indicated that a high-level committee was formed to investigate the incident and concluded that “the apartment’s kitchen is supported by gas pipelines placed in one of the kitchen’s cabinets”.

Some media reports carried by local websites said the family and the domestic helpers were poisoned after consuming food from a "famous restaurant" in Amman.

Raed Hamada, president of the Jordan Association for Restaurants and Sweets Shops Owners, criticised the local media “for their hasty reporting” because it reflects negatively on the industry and “because there is nothing called someone dying of food poisoning”.

“It is very rare to hear of a case of someone dying of food poisoning.  People could get sick and could vomit or suffer from diarrhoea, but not die,” Hamada told The Jordan Times.

He stressed that the restaurant sector in Jordan “is considered one of the best when it comes to food safety and hygiene”.

 

According to a Time magazine online edition report citing 2010 World Health Organisation figures, the latest global data available, 351,000 people die of food poisoning every year, including 52,000 deaths caused by Salmonella and 37,000 deaths caused by E. coli bacteria.

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