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Published On: Fri, Dec 28th, 2012

Three dead, 30 sickened after eating turtle meat in Mwali, Comoros islands

Moheli ComorosImage/CIA

Moheli Comoros
Image/CIA

Three people died, including an unborn child, from turtle meat food poisoning  Ndrondroni town on the island of Mohéli (Mwali) in the Comoros, according to a Linfo.re report Dec. 27 (computer translated).

In addition, Comorian authorities reported at least 30 illnesses since last weekend. Symptoms suffered by those affected included acute stomach pain and vomiting.

The three fatalities, according to the report included two boys and an unborn child whose mother consumed turtle meat, was hospitalized and recovered.

The deaths and illnesses were the result of chelonitoxism, a form of food poisoning caused by toxins in the turtle meat.  Children are exceptionally susceptible to this affliction and there is no antidote for treatment.

This type of food poisoning is rare and this is probably due to the fact that sea turtle are protected and eating sea turtle meat is taboo in some groups. Comorian authorities have declared a ban on the consumption of turtle meat and eggs.

This type of food poisoning when it’s mild is characterized by a rapid onset of gastrointestinal symptoms and other non-specific symptoms. Recovery is usually complete within a week.

In the more moderate food poisoning, patients may experience a burning mouth and throat sensation. Neurological symptoms may also be manifest. This form usually takes a few weeks to recover from.

Public domain image/Karen Johnson at the Wikipedia project

Public domain image/Karen Johnson at the Wikipedia project

In the most severe form of the condition, multi-organ involvement is possible and the patient may lapse into a coma. The death rate is very high in this form, particularly in children.

There is no specific treatment for chelonitoxism, only supportive care is available. Cooking of the turtle meat does not destroy the toxin. The severity of the poisoning is also dependent on the amount of turtle meat consumed.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Three dead, 30 sickened after eating turtle meat in Mwali, Comoros islands - Listen to Audio Reel.Best Sound Track says:

    […] Three dead, 30 sickened after eating turtle meat in Mwali, Comoros islands Three people died, including an unborn child, from turtle meat food poisoning Ndrondroni town on the island of Mohéli (Mwali) in the Comoros, according to a Linfo.re report Dec. 27 (computer translated). In addition, Comorian authorities reported at … Read more on The Global Dispatch […]

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