Greek woman dies after Bordeaux botulism outbreak

Greek woman dies after Bordeaux botulism outbreak

A Greek woman died of botulism and a dozen of people were hospitalized after eating preserved sardines in a Bordeaux wine bar last week.

The 32-year-old woman’s Irish husband remains in intensive care in a hospital near Paris, where they lived.

They travelled to Bordeaux for the Rugby World Cup match against Romania and dined, with her father, in the Tchin Tchin wine bar which has been linked to the botulism outbreak.

On becoming ill, the couple returned to Paris where they attended hospital. It is understood the woman who died is a native of Athens.

Officials issued an appeal around France and beyond to find others who might have eaten the suspicious sardines and might be at risk. Visitors from the US, Canada, Germany and Spain are among those sickened, according to the regional health authority ARS.

France records only 10 to 20 cases of botulism nationwide per year.

Foodborne botulism is a rare illness from eating foods contaminated with botulinum toxin and can cause paralysis, breathing difficulty and sometimes death. Homemade foods that have been improperly canned, preserved, or fermented are common sources.

At least 12 people who ate the preserves between September 4 and 10 have been hospitalized, according to an ARS official. Some have been released but most remain in intensive care or critical condition, the official said.

All exhibited symptoms typical of botulism, which can include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing or speaking and neurological problems.

The restaurant was closed pending further investigation. The regional agency for consumer protection carried out inspections and confiscated all its preserved food for analysis. The restaurant personnel could not be reached for comment.

On the restaurant’s TripAdvisor page, the most recent comment reads: “My family ate sardines and went to intensive care! My niece died! Case of botulism from homemade sardines … Stay away!” [AP, Irish Times, Kathimerini]

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