Botulism outbreak kills one, hospitalizes 12 in France's Bordeaux
Five of the 12 hospitalized people require respiratory support.
An outbreak of botulism, a severe neurological illness often caused by consuming improperly preserved food, has resulted in one fatality and the hospitalization of 12 individuals in southwestern France. The incident occurred after consuming sardines served at a restaurant in Bordeaux, which had preserved the sardines itself, as reported by the DGS health authority.
The nationality of the deceased woman, aged 32, remains undetermined, according to a source close to the case. Benjamin Clouzeau, a doctor at Pellegrin Hospital in Bordeaux, stated that 12 more people were still undergoing emergency treatment on Wednesday morning, with five of them requiring respiratory support. The group included American, Irish, and Canadian nationals. A German and Spanish nationals each traveled home for treatment, according to the doctor.
All of the individuals involved had dined at the Tchin Tchin wine bar between September 4 and September 10, a period when the city typically sees a significant influx of tourists. Bordeaux is renowned for its cuisine. During their visits, they consumed sardines that had been preserved by the restaurant owner in jars, as confirmed by the DGS health authority.
Botulism can be fatal in 5-10% of cases due to a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can develop when preserved food is inadequately sterilized.
In further detail, the DGS health authority reported that tests were being conducted at the restaurant and could not rule out the possibility of further cases of botulism emerging. Botulism has an incubation period that can extend to several days and is characterized by muscle paralysis, with the most immediate danger stemming from the muscles used for breathing.
According to a report in the local newspaper Sud-Ouest, the restaurant owner mentioned that he had disposed of certain jars of sardines due to a strong odor upon opening them. However, he noted that others "appeared to be in good condition and were served to customers."