8 Children And 1 Adult Die After Consuming Sea Turtle Meat On A Remote African Island

In a tragic incident on Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, eight children and an adult lost their lives, while dozens were hospitalized, after consuming sea turtle meat—a local delicacy despite its well-known dangers. This devastating event occurred on March 5 and was reported by the popular news page \’Pubity\’ on Instagram.

According to a report shared on the news portal Metro, a total of 78 people were hospitalized due to food poisoning after consuming the meal. Dr. Haji Bakari, the medical officer of the Mkoani District, confirmed the link between the illnesses and the consumption of turtle meat.

Despite being considered a delicacy in the region, sea turtle meat poses significant health risks. Lab tests confirmed that all affected individuals had consumed sea turtle meat. The meat is said to taste like beef, with a texture that can be roughly compared to squid or alligator.

Dr. Bakari explained that the poisoning is caused by a type of food poisoning known as chelonitoxism, which can be toxic due to the turtles\’ consumption of poisonous algae. This rare and sometimes fatal type of food poisoning causes gastrointestinal symptoms, followed by neurologic, hepatic, and renal toxicity.

Authorities in the archipelago have sent a disaster management team to Pemba and have urged people to avoid consuming sea turtles. This incident echoes a similar tragedy in 2021, where seven people, including a three-year-old, died on Pemba island after consuming turtle meat, states the report.

Cases of sea turtle meat poisoning have also been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia, and India\’s Indian Ocean islands. Unfortunately, there is no known antidote for this type of poisoning.

This heartbreaking event serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with consuming sea turtle meat, which can lead to severe food poisoning and potentially fatal consequences, especially for children and older individuals.

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