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Volta Region FDA says Kpando residents knew consuming Pufferfish could kill

It came to the conclusion after speaking to market women and residents of Kpando about the poisonous fish that killed four on Thursday.

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The Food and Drugs Authority has said residents of Kpando in the Volta Region knew consuming Pufferfish could kill.

It came to the conclusion after speaking to market women and residents of Kpando about the poisonous fish that killed four on Thursday.

READ MORE: 4 dead after allegedly eating poisonous fish

“Our officer in the area indicated that when they went around speaking to the market women and indigenes, they all established that it is a fish they are aware should not be consumed, so it is not like the indegens are not aware…they’re aware that it is not supposed to be consumed,” the Public Relations Officer of the FDA, James Lartey told Accra-based Kasapa FM.

Four people died at the Margret Marquart Catholic Hospital in Kpando after consuming the deadly fish.

The hospital Administrator, Hanson Torde, who confirmed this said about 10 people from Alavanyo reported to the hospital with stomach upset about 2 weeks ago.

He added that they said the stomach upset started after they consumed a fish they purchased on the market. "3 out of the 10 lost their lives," he stated.

Torde said the hospital had four new cases from Torkor (a fishing community in the Volta Region) with similar symptoms as the previous cases on Wednesday (August 16, 2017).

He told Accra-based Citi FM that the fish is not a common one in the market. The fish which looks like a puffer fish is called “Gedde [in Ewe]” by the local people call.

“It is not a common fish on the market. What the residents told me was that when the fish is captured in the river and hit with a stick, it expands. It is not a normal fish that is sold on the market."

The puffer fish is the second most poisonous vertebrate on the planet. Its poison has no antidote and kills by paralysing the diaphragm, causing suffocation.

Almost all puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them taste bad (and sometimes lethal) to fish.

READ MORE:All you need to know about the poisonous fish that killed 4 in Volta region

According to National Geographic, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. One puffer fish has enough toxin to kill 30 adults.

Tetrodotoxin does not cross the blood-brain barrier, so the victims remain fully conscious while their central nervous system gradually shuts down. Symptoms such as numbness in the mouth, lips, and tongue occur within 30 minutes to three hours from an intake and after that, the victim begins to experience headaches, nausea and even vomiting. The rest of the body slowly becomes paralysed, causing death when the heart and lung muscles are also paralysed.

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