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Fatal poisoning in Bordeaux wine bar

One person has died and eight are in hospital following an outbreak of food poisoning allegedly caused by sardines in a popular Bordeaux bar.

French local authorities have warned anyone who visited the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux between 4-10 September to watch out for worrying health symptoms after nine people were seriously affected by a case of toxic poisoning known as botulism.

Eight patients are in intensive care and one person has died after dining in the bar, with the suspected cause of the deadly bacteria being “home-preserved” sardines.

Benjamin Clouzeau, head of the Intensive Care Unit at Bordeaux University Hospital, warned that others may have been poisoned without yet knowing it, and urged the media to publish the details in case people visiting Bordeaux had passed through the bar, which is popular with tourists, and returned home without receiving a diagnosis.

Those hospitalised by the outbreak were from the US, Canada and Germany.

The ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine said that people should “immediately consult a doctor if experiencing any symptoms”.

Botulism is a serious neurological condition caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum.

The condition can lead to respiratory and muscular paralysis, and it is thought to be fatal in around 5%-10% of cases.

Initial symptoms of botulism include “fatigue, weakness and dizziness, followed by blurred vision, a dry mouth and difficulty swallowing and speaking,” according to France’s Institute Pasteur.

The majority of cases are linked to food poisoning caused by cured meats, and home-made preserves.

The Bordeaux Tourism website describes Tchin Tchin Wine Bar as “a privileged place to discover organic and biodynamic wines”. The same source says that the wine menu at the bar boasts “original, clean, digestible and healthy wines” but makes no mention of food.

Tchin Tchin Wine Bar is on the Rue Emile Duployé. At the time of writing, the bar was “temporarily closed”.


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