Peggy O’Hare reports that as of 4 p.m. Friday, Metro Health had received more than 300 phone calls. Most of them — 255 — came from people who said they became ill after eating at Pasha Mediterranean Grill on Wurzbach Road between Aug. 30 and Wednesday.

So far, 14 victims have shown laboratory evidence of being sickened by salmonella, Metropolitan Health District spokeswoman Carol Schliesinger said. A dozen people have been hospitalized.

Metro Health officials said they are still in the early phases of their investigation and haven’t yet determined a specific cause or food source for the illness. “We may never know,” Schliesinger said.

Pasha co-owner Kamran Hajivandi said Friday that the health department told him it suspects that hummus might be the culprit. But he said he doesn’t know how chickpeas could have sickened so many.

Metro Health officials first learned Sunday night of people becoming sick. The officials went to the restaurant at 9339 Wurzbach to conduct an inspection Monday. They found several violations, including a lack of sanitizing buckets at preparation tables and a reach-in cooler not maintaining a proper temperature of 41 degrees, Schliesinger said.

Salmonella typically causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after exposure, said Metro Health Assistant Director Anita Kurian, who works in the agency’s communicable disease division. A healthy adult sickened by the illness usually experiences those symptoms for four to seven days. Most people recover completely without medical treatment; but if the diarrhea is very severe, some patients may need to be hospitalized, Kurian said.

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