WHO Issues Warning As Serious Neurological Condition Spreads During Rugby World Cup

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday that French health authorities have identified at least 15 cases of suspected botulism, including one death.

The outbreak was first identified in a group of 10 cases Sept. 12, WHO said in its emergency announcement. That number increased to at least 15 cases within two days, including one death. Ten people are currently hospitalized and eight of those individuals were admitted to Intensive Care Units, according to the agency.

The outbreak seems to be centered between Bordeaux and the Ile-de-France area, but there are concerns regarding a continent-wide spread. France is currently hosting the Rugby World Cup, and 14 of out of the 15 cases were identified among citizens of other countries, such as Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Britain and the U.S, according to WHO.

The cause of the outbreak has been traced to jars of homemade preserved sardines served at a restaurant in Bordeaux between Sept. 4 to 10, WHO noted. (RELATED: ‘Black Swan’ Ancient Viruses Are Waking Up, And They’re Angry)

Botulism is a “serious neurological condition caused by a very potent toxin,” according to WHO. It’s a potentially fatal disease, with symptoms such as flaccid paralysis leading to respiratory failure. Initial symptoms include weakness, fatigue and dizziness, which is often followed by difficulty swallowing and speaking.

People do not lose consciousness and there is no fever associated with botulism, according to WHO.