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Puffer fish poisoning cluster under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (October 10) investigating a puffer fish poisoning cluster affecting two persons and hence reminds members of the public not to consume puffer fish.

     A female patient aged 68 and her daughter aged 43 developed numbness, dizziness, lower limb weakness and vomiting about three to 24 hours after consuming puffer fish at home for dinner on October 7 and the following afternoon (October 8).

     The 68-year-old patient consulted a private doctor yesterday (October 9) and was subsequently referred to the Accident and Emergency Department of United Christian Hospital for further management and has been discharged today. Her daughter sought medical attention from a private doctor and no hospitalisation was required.

     The two have been in stable condition all along.

     Initial enquiries by the CHP revealed that the fish was bought from a market in Sau Mau Ping.

     A spokesman for the CHP explained that consumption of puffer fish is the main cause of food poisoning from tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is a potent water-soluble neurotoxin that can affect the central nervous system.

     "Organs such as the liver, gonads and skin of puffer fish have high concentration of tetrodotoxin. Being heat-stable, the toxin does not decompose upon cooking, boiling, drying or freezing. Tetrodotoxin intoxication can cause problems in respiration or circulation and is potentially fatal. There is no known antidote or antitoxin. The public is advised to avoid purchasing or consumption of puffer fish to prevent tetrodotoxin-related food poisoning," the spokesman added.

Ends/Thursday, October 10, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:06


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