Botulism Outbreak At French Bar Reportedly Leaves 1 Dead, At Least 8 Hospitalized

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Kate Hirzel Contributor
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An outbreak of botulism at the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in France has left one dead and at least eight individuals in intensive care, according to a Tuesday press release and a report from CBS News. 

French health authorities have confirmed 12 total cases of foodborne botulism primarily affecting tourists visiting the southwestern city of Bordeaux, including Americans, Canadians, Irish visitors and Germans, CBS reported. Eight patients are currently receiving treatment in French hospitals, with one case hospitalized around Paris and another Irish national in intensive care in Spain. 

The incubation period ranges from a few hours to a few days, French health authorities wrote in a press release. (RELATED: ‘Black Swan’ Ancient Viruses Are Waking Up, And They’re Angry)

Botulism results from a toxin that attacks the nervous system. “Early symptoms include marked fatigue, weakness and vertigo, usually followed by blurred vision, dry mouth and difficulty in swallowing and speaking,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Vomiting, diarrhoea [sic], constipation and abdominal swelling may also occur.”

Bordeaux has been attracting tourism recently due to the Rugby World Cup 2023, which will run in the city from Sept. 9 until Sept. 30. 

Health authorities traced the source of the toxin to sardines canned by the bar’s owner, according to the press release, with the potential to impact up to 25 people, CBS reported. Those who dined at the bar between Sept. 4 and 10 are urged to seek immediate medical attention if they exhibit symptoms of botulism.

“I admit that I had a batch of sterilized sardines and when I opened it, I had to throw away some that had a strong smell. Others appeared healthy and were served to customers,” the restaurant owner told French outlet Southwest.“I am devastated for these customers if it turns out they got sick at my place.”