Four people have reportedly died in Kpando, Volta Region, Ghana after eating consuming poisonous fish. The incident happened Thursday, August 17. About 26 others have been hospitalized, according to reports.
The Pufferfish which was consumed by the victims is said to be the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet.
In addition, about 14 people complained of stomach upset after consuming the fish that is said to be poisonous.
Following the tragedy, the Kpando Municipal Assembly banned the sale of Pufferfish in the area.
In all, the Assembly said in statement, 26 people were hospitalised after eating pufferfish.
“This fish is well known by the locals and the danger it poses when not handled properly before consumption. But they continue to catch and sell it to the public,” the Kpando Municipal Public Health Emergency Committee said.
“To prevent this further deaths the Committee has decided to temporarily ban the sale of the puffer fish in any form either fresh, smoked or salted until further notice.
“Anybody caught selling the fish to the public will be dealt with accordingly”, the statement cautioned.
More about pufferfish?
The pufferfish is the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet. Its poison has no antidote and kills by paralyzing the diaphragm, causing suffocation.
Almost all puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them taste bad (and sometimes lethal) to fish.
According to National Geographic, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. One puffer fish has enough toxin to kill 30 adults.
Tetrodotoxin does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so the victims remain fully conscious while their central nervous system gradually shuts down. Symptoms such as numbness in the mouth, lips, and tongue occur within 30 minutes to three hours from an intake and after that, the victim begins to experience headaches, nausea and even vomiting. The rest of the body slowly becomes paralysed, causing death when the heart and lung muscles are also paralysed.
In Japan, the most lethal part, the liver, cannot be sold, and the whole fish is banned in the European Union.
There are more than 120 species of puffer fish worldwide. Most of them are found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters. However, some species live in brackish and even fresh water. They have long, tapered bodies with bulbous heads.
The puffer fish protects itself in the wild by gulping down water and swelling up its belly to make itself look bigger. It does this because, apparently, it can’t find a way to communicate the simple message, “I am poisonous,” io9.gizmodo.com says.