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Two children die of suspected food poisoning after takeaway

A Dubai Chinese restaurant is closed for tests after family falls sick.

Two young children have died from suspected food poisoning after eating a takeaway meal from a Dubai restaurant. A five-year-old boy, his eight-year-old sister and their mother became ill after eating a home delivery from a restaurant serving Chinese food in Al Qusais. Health officials and Dubai Municipality have launched investigations and the restaurant has been closed until the test results are returned.

The two siblings, their French mother and the house maid went to the New Medical Centre Speciality Hospital at 5.30am on Saturday, suffering from vomiting. The family members were given an antibiotic used to treat certain bacterial infections. They were also given fluids to help them rehydrate. Dr Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, the managing director and chief executive of NMC, said the family were then sent home but told to return immediately if they suffered any sickness or diarrhoea.

At about 3pm the mother returned to the hospital with the children, but the boy had already died. "When they came back to us, sadly the five-year-old boy was already dead," Dr Shetty said. "Doctors tried to resuscitate him but it was not successful. The doctors followed all procedures and did everything they could but unfortunately he was already dead. "We successfully managed the mother and other child and then transferred them to the government hospital"

After being taken to Dubai Hospital, the girl died yesterday morning. No one from the government facility was available for comment last night. The mother is recovering in hospital. It is understood that the father of the children was out of town and did not return until Saturday evening. "It is a very sad situation," Dr Shetty said. "It is being taken very seriously by the health and food control authorities. The health authority came to us and took the files so they can make the necessary enquiries. This is a very unfortunate thing."

Dubai Municipality said yesterday that following the incident, the restaurant was ordered to close. The food control department said the closure was a "precautionary measure" and it would remain shut until laboratory tests had been conducted on the food from the restaurant. Sources close to the family said yesterday that the couple and relatives were shattered by their loss. The family gathered at a relative's home yesterday and mourned their children.

Their deaths follow that of Marwa Faisal, aged four, who died on May 31, 55 minutes after she was admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah suffering from violent vomiting. Her parents and brother were also admitted to the hospital but later recovered. Tests showed that Marwa died of food poisoning although initial tests did not show any bacteria, hospital officials said. More than half of Sharjah's restaurants failed basic food hygiene inspections over the past year, and almost 500 of them were temporarily closed.

munderwood@thenational.ae

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