They eat sea turtle meat and die of poisoning, because it is risky

And of nine deathsincluding eight children and a woman, the tragic toll of a food poisoning due to meat Of sea ​​turtle. An episode, which occurred on the island of Pemba, one of the two main islands of the Zanzibar archipelago in Tanzania in East Africa, which risks seeing the situation worsen as another 78 would have been poisoned. A case that puts the spotlight on the possible risks associated with tortoise meat, a delicious dish for the local population which, however, if not properly controlled, can be lethal for humans.

Nine deaths due to poisoning

The dramatic episode that led to new and important questions about how harmful turtle meat can be occurred, as mentioned, in Zanzibar. In an area where turtle meat is not only a typical dish, but also a delicious one for tourists to enjoy, nine died after ingesting it. Initially the budget was 87 intoxicated, some of them seriously, news of the deaths was subsequently reported.

A fact that makes even more noise because among the victims there are eight children. Haji Bakari Haji, the medical officer of the district of Mkoani, one of the three most important centers on the island of Pemba, told the Associated Press agency that all the victims would have ingested sea turtle meat last Tuesday 5 March, but that the local authorities were informed of the facts only three days later, on 8 March.

Laboratory tests confirmed that all the poisoned people had eaten turtle meat, the only food reported as the cause of food poisoning and the death of the nine.

Intoxication which led local authorities to send a team specialized in emergency management to the site, with the aim of advising locals and tourists to avoid consuming sea turtle meat.

Why sea turtle meat is risky

But what are the risks associated with sea turtle meat? In itself, it must be said, the product is edible, but it could hide dangers that would be fatal for humans. And this is the case of the nine deaths in Zanzibar, because all of them are deaths due to chelonitoxism. What is it about?

Chelonitoxism is the so-called poisoning from sea turtle meat which contains high quantities of chelonitoxins, toxins that are ingested by tortoises feeding on some types of algae. The animal, in itself, does not suffer from any pathology and manages to burn the toxin perfectly, but it is by ingesting the infected meat that the problem arises.

In fact, if not properly treated, meat is harmful to humans. And if chelonitoxism is not diagnosed in time, death is certain. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, serious neurological complications, but also abdominal pain, diarrhea, itching, pain in the mouth and throat, confusion, convulsions and paralysis. Neurological signs may include increased salivation, sweating, dizziness, lethargy, and decreased deep reflexes, sometimes followed by coma and death. And it has been found that death can result from respiratory failure.

To treat chelonitoxism, supportive care such as hydration and respiratory assistance is applied, given the absence of a specific antidote. But the best prevention, in these cases, is educating the community on the risks and importance of sea turtle conservation