April 23, 2024

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Nine people in Tanzania died from poisoning after eating sea turtle meat

Nine people in Tanzania died from poisoning after eating sea turtle meat, with another 78 hospitalized.



Nine people in Tanzania died from poisoning after eating sea turtle meat, with another 78 hospitalized.

The incident occurred on Pemba Island in the Zanzibar archipelago. According to Dr. Haji Bakari, a medical official in the Mkoani district, laboratory tests confirmed that all victims had consumed sea turtle meat before falling ill. The local community considered it a delicacy.

Local authorities have dispatched a disaster management team to the island and urged people not to consume sea turtle meat to prevent similar tragedies. Consumption of contaminated sea turtle meat can lead to a rare form of food poisoning known as Chelonitoxism.

Several poisoning cases and scientific studies have shown that sea turtles carry many harmful bacteria and toxins, including biotoxins, heavy metals, and organic pollutants. Additionally, they can host various parasites, which can cause acute or chronic poisoning when consumed. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, digestive ulcers, local paralysis, seizures, restlessness, coma, multiple organ failure, and, in severe cases, death.

The toxicology of sea turtle poisoning remains unclear, and effective detoxification and treatment methods are lacking, often resulting in fatal poisoning incidents, especially in children. Besides safety concerns, sea turtles worldwide are endangered or critically endangered, and many countries and regions have made hunting and consuming sea turtle meat illegal.

Therefore, for both health and regulatory reasons, it is strongly advised against consuming sea turtle meat.

 

Nine people in Tanzania died from poisoning after eating sea turtle meat, with another 78 hospitalized.

 


What is Chelonitoxism?

Chelonitoxism is a rare and potentially life-threatening illness caused by consuming contaminated sea turtle meat.

It occurs when individuals ingest toxins that accumulate in the bodies of certain sea turtles, primarily those found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Here’s a breakdown of what to know about chelonitoxism:

  • Cause: The toxins responsible for chelonitoxism are believed to originate from algae and cyanobacteria that the sea turtles consume. These toxins accumulate in the turtles’ flesh and organs over time.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms typically appear within hours to a week after consuming contaminated turtle meat. Initial signs include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, individuals may experience:
    • Muscle weakness
    • Partial paralysis
    • Liver and kidney damage
    • Coma
    • Death
  • Prevention: The only known way to prevent chelonitoxism is to avoid eating sea turtle meat altogether.
  • Important Note: Sea turtles are endangered species and their consumption is illegal in most countries.

Additional Information:

  • There is no antidote for chelonitoxism. Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and providing supportive care.
  • Children are especially vulnerable to the toxins and can become sick even if they breastfeed from a mother who has consumed contaminated meat.

It’s crucial to remember that consuming sea turtle meat is not only dangerous due to the risk of chelonitoxism but also illegal in most areas due to the endangered status of these animals.

Nine people in Tanzania died from poisoning after eating sea turtle meat, with another 78 hospitalized.

(source:internet, reference only)


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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.