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chelonitoxism in Tanzania: Seven die in Zanzibar after eating poisonous turtle meat

The exact cause of the rare cases of turtle meat being poisonous is not clear

The exact cause of the rare cases of turtle meat being poisonous is not clearSeven people, inclusive of a three-year-old, have died on Tanzania’s Pemba island following eating poisonous turtle meat.

Three others are so far in hospital.

The meat is a usual fineness amid those living on Tanzania’s islands and coastal areas still the authorities have now banned the eating of turtles in the area.

In seldom occurring cases turtle meat can be poisonous because of a type of food poisoning known as chelonitoxism.

Its real cause is not known yet it is believed to be connected to poisonous algae which the turtles eat, as stated by the Turtle Foundation charity.

Not less five families on Pemba, which is part of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands, consumed the turtle meat last Thursday, local police commander Juma Said Hamis told the BBC.

The effects were first experienced the next day and the three-year-old was the first to die. Two others died that night and then four more on Sunday.

Additional 38 people were admitted to hospital, still many were discharged and the three who remain are said to be in a stable condition.

In an information on Twitter, Hussein Mwinyi sent his condolences to the families affected.

The poisoning can have the worst effect on children and older people, though healthier adults can as well succumb, the Turtle Foundation says.

In March in Madagascar, 19 people, including nine children, died after eating turtle meat, the AFP news agency stated at the time.

Cases have as well been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia and India’s Indian Ocean islands.

Africa Live: More on this and other stories from the continent

Related Topics

Zanzibar,      Tanzania,         Turtles

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