Health Ministry investigators have not yet determined what caused the stomach ailments of dozens of guests at an Eilat hotel, but they appear to suspect food poisoning.
The ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that 56 people staying at the Dan Eilat Hotel reported vomiting and intestinal cramps, most of whom did not need to seek medical attention.
A guest, speaking anonymously, told public broadcaster Kan that “people are throwing up wherever possible, in the lobby, in the elevators, in the rooms.”
Reports of illnesses began reaching the ministry on Tuesday, but two inspections of the hotel’s kitchen by state health inspectors have since come back clean, according to the statement. The hotel’s food was also sent to a laboratory for testing.
The ministry said it had launched an epidemiological investigation, which is still ongoing.
The guests were given a questionnaire to fill out and of the 56 confirmed cases, 20 reported their condition only after being contacted by the doctor at the ministry’s sub-district office, the statement said.
“The Ministry of Health will continue to instruct the hotel in accordance with the results of the ongoing investigation and inform the public if necessary,” the ministry said.
Ronit Ruth-Levy, who was staying at the hotel, told Kahn that on Monday night her son and nephew started vomiting continuously.
“By evening, my husband also started vomiting,” she said.
When he went down to the lobby, there were already other people there complaining of vomiting.
Guests opened a WhatsApp group called “Vomiting in Eilat” to discuss the problem, and at least 90 complained of stomach upset, according to Jewish media reports. However, Ruth-Levy estimated that more than 150 people were unwell.
“They didn’t tell us much at the hotel,” she told Kahn. “If I hadn’t heard about it from the media, I wouldn’t have heard anything. They didn’t close the dining room or give us any notice.”
The hotel said in a statement that Yoseftal Medical Center, which treated some of the guests, determined that they did not suffer from gastroenteritis.