One person died due to food poisoning, which is a serious and rare neurological disease, while about ten were infected, including tourists of Canadian, German and American nationalities, who ate hand-canned sardines in a restaurant in the city of Bordeaux in southwest France.
On Tuesday evening, the General Directorate of Health announced the death of one person in the Paris region, out of 10 cases reported.
According to Dr. Benjamin Clouseau, an anesthesiologist and resuscitator at Pellegrin Hospital in Bordeaux, 12 people were identified on Wednesday morning: seven in intensive care, five in respiratory assistance and one in the continuing care unit.
These are Quebecers, Irish and Americans, according to the doctor.
“There are other cases linked to the Bordeaux outbreak, including a German who returned and was cared for in his country, and is initially fine,” Mr. Clouzot added, referring to a similar case in Barcelona, Spain.
All these people have in common that they ate at the same restaurant, Chin Chin Wine Bar, between September 4 and 10 in Bordeaux, where tourist numbers are high in September.
At this city-centre establishment, popular with Anglo-Saxon customers, all patients “consumed sardines in jars made by the restaurant owner (handicraft),” the General Directorate of Public Security confirms.
Health authorities recommend that people who came to the institution on the same dates and show symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, vision or speech problems) “see a doctor urgently.”
Samples were taken in the restaurant and tests are being conducted to “biologically confirm” the disease.
Botulism is a serious neurological condition, fatal in 5 to 10% of cases, caused by a very strong toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which develops particularly in poorly preserved foods due to lack of adequate sterilization.
Botulinum neurotoxins attack the nervous system and cause eye problems (double vision), difficulty swallowing, and, in advanced forms, muscle paralysis, especially the respiratory muscles, which can lead to death.
In a question to the local newspaper Sud Quest, the accused restaurant manager admitted, on Tuesday, to serving cans of artisanal sardines, and that when they were opened, some of them had to be thrown away because of the “strong smell.” “But others appeared healthy and were offered to customers,” he added.