The Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed that contamination at a shelter for people with disabilities in Holon was what led to the deaths of three of its residents last week, due to food poisoning.

A few residents began feeling ill during the night between Saturday and Sunday last week, with some suffering from diarrhea.

One of them, who had suffered from an underlying medical condition, lost consciousness while being examined by the facility’s medical staff. Paramedics who were rushed to the scene attempted to resuscitate her, but efforts failed and she was pronounced dead on Sunday.

Three other residents were rushed to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, two of whom, who had also suffered from underlying medical conditions, died Monday morning. The third resident is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

According to Ynet, 33 residents were affected by the incident and suffered from diarrhea and vomiting. However, most of them presented mild symptoms.

In a report Sunday, filed after a special team was sent to the Beit Dafna shelter last week, the ministry noted “several severe” deficiencies regarding the facility’s maintenance, the overall level of cleanliness, and how food was handled in the kitchen.

According to the ministry, there was no strict separation of foods during different cooking processes; there was no proper work practices for food handling; and the dishes’ level of cleanliness was lacking.

“In light of this, and in light of the serious illness, the kitchen will be closed immediately,” stated the report, which was forwarded to the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry and the police.

The ministry said that the lethal food poisoning was due to poor care of meat in the kitchen. Food samples taken from the shelter showed they were infected with Clostridium perfringens bacteria, which is usually found in human excrement.

The bacteria was also found in stool samples from seven patients who were hospitalized as a result of the mass poisoning.

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