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One dead and 10 hospitalised in south-west France after botulism poisoning

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
One dead and 10 hospitalised in south-west France after botulism poisoning
A an empty room in an intensive care unit in a French hospital. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

One person has died after a group of mostly American and Canadian visitors were hospitalised in south-west France for the rare food-borne botulism poisoning.

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In total 10 people have now been hospitalised after contracting a rare form of botulinum toxin poisoning, thought to be linked to a wine bar in Bordeaux.

One woman has now died and seven people are in either intensive care or a high-dependency unit at Bordeaux hospital.

The dead woman was 32 years old and lived in the Paris region - she had visited Bordeaux with her partner and both fell ill after they returned to Paris. Her partner remains in intensive care in a hospital in the Paris region.

According to French media, almost all of these affected were American, Canadian or German and all had visited the Thcin Tchin wine bar in Bordeaux in the previous week.

French regional health authorities say a home-made sardine conserve served at the bar is the most likely source of the rare food-borne botulism poisoning. 

Food-borne botulism is caused by consuming improperly processed foods. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says on its website that it is typically associated with "homemade canned, preserved or fermented foodstuffs."

The disease, which is treated with antitoxin, is very rare, accounting for an average of 20 to 30 cases in France per year.

It can lead to respiratory and muscular paralysis. Initial symptoms include "fatigue, weakness and dizziness, followed by blurred vision, a sensation of dry mouth and difficulty swallowing and speaking," France's Institute Pasteur told Franceinfo.

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