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Nine dead, 78 severely ill after consuming sea turtle meat in Zanzibar, East Africa

A tragic incident in Zanzibar, East Africa, saw nine fatalities and 78 severe illnesses after consuming sea turtle and squid meat. Previous fatalities and warnings highlight the dangers of chelonitoxism. Officials urge adherence to food safety regulations to prevent such calamities, emphasizing the risks of consuming prohibited delicacies.

9 dead, 78 severely ill after consuming Sea Turtle meat at Zanzibar, East Africa vkp
First Published Mar 10, 2024, 4:38 PM IST

A devastating incident has rocked the coast of Zanzibar, East Africa, as nine individuals tragically lost their lives and 78 others fell severely ill after consuming sea turtle meat. On Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, locals who indulged in squid meat, a delicacy in the region, faced dire consequences. Among the deceased, eight were innocent children, adding to the sorrow.

Mkoni District Medical Officer, Haji Bakari, shed light on the grim reality, revealing that a previous fatality had occurred under similar circumstances. The meal, consumed on a fateful Wednesday, resulted in a wave of food poisoning cases that swept through the island.

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The gravity of the situation was further emphasized as medical examinations confirmed the link between the consumption of squid meat and the tragic outcomes. This incident has once again underscored the dangers associated with chelonitoxism, a toxin found in certain marine creatures.

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Zanzibar, an autonomous region within Tanzania, is no stranger to such calamities. Hanja Hassan Zuma, leading a disaster management team, swiftly responded to the crisis, urging the populace to abstain from consuming sea turtle meat. The dire warning comes in the wake of a similar tragedy in November 2021, where seven lives were lost and three individuals were hospitalized after ingesting turtle meat, a prohibited delicacy.

Despite prohibitions in place, the allure of these exotic foods continues to pose significant risks to the health and well-being of the island's inhabitants. The latest incident serves as a sombre reminder of the importance of adhering to food safety regulations and avoiding potentially hazardous dietary choices.

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