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Foodborne Illness Knocks 250 Israeli Soldiers Out of Training Exercise

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has launched an investigation into the cause of a food poisoning incident that occurred last Friday night in the Golan Heights, an area along the Syrian border which Israel has held since the 1967 war.

GolanHts_406x250Israel’s Channel 2 reports that about 250 IDF Paratroopers from the 202nd Battalion came down with symptoms of food poisoning, including stomach aches and diarrhea. In addition to the soldiers, the battalion commander and other officers were sickened.

The Friday night dinner was served at Pilon Camp in northern Israel shortly after the troops arrived. The meat included a sautéed chicken that soldiers said had a bad smell. However, the IDF unit ate what was served.

The International Society for Infectious Disease says foodborne illnesses increase in the region as temperatures rise, helping the growth the microorganisms related to foodborne illnesses and gastroenteritis diseases.

The IDF paratroopers were taking part in a battalion-wide exercise that began on March 23, but because of the number of illnesses stemming from the Friday night dinner, that training may be suspended or cut back.

As for the investigation, the IDF is focused on Staphylococcus, Salmonella and Shigella. Recent foodborne disease outbreaks in the region involved students in Egypt and Lebanon and residents of the Ariana area of Tunisia.

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