Seven die after consuming poisonous turtle meat
Cases of turtle meat poisoning have also been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia and the Indian Ocean Islands
Seven people have died and many more were hospitalised on Pemba Island in Tanzania after eating poisonous turtle meat considered a delicacy in the area.
Pemba police commander Juma Said Hamis disclosed that at least five families ate the meat on Thursday November 25.
While 38 people in total were taken to hospital, seven people - including a three-year-old - sadly passed away. A further three people are still in hospital but are reportedly in stable condition.
The meat is considered a delicacy throughout much of the world and it is usually made into soups and casseroles. However the harvesting of sea turtles almost drove global populations to the grave before conservation work managed to protect the animal and its future.
In places like the Cayman Islands, where the meat is still eaten, harvesting follows strict farming guidelines.
Pemba Island has now banned the meat.
Samples of the meat in question have also been sent for testing, reports the BBC.
In rare cases, turtles are known to suffer blood poisoning called chelonitoxism but the exact cause is relatively unknown.
Initial reports suggest that the poison could've stemmed from algae that produce poisons as temperatures rise. Many creatures, turtles included, are known to consume such algae.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time people have died from contaminated turtle meat. Earlier this year in March, 34 people were taken to Vatomandry hospital in Madagascar to be treated for the same sickness. Authorities reported 10 deaths of the 34 but later confirmed that nine children had also died at home.
Cases of turtle meat poisoning have also been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia and the Indian Ocean Islands.
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