2 Burmese fishermen die, 6 injured after eating pufferfish

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Two Burmese fishermen died and six others narrowly escaped death after eating poisonous pufferfish aboard their boat near Prachuab Kirikhan.

“Dum,” 45, and “Chid,” 29, were pronounced dead Feb. 27 when their vessel pulled into a Sattahip fishing pier. Six other men ages 16-29 were taken to Queen Sirikit Hospital where they recovered. One of the six, “Sue,” 20, spent three days in intensive care.

The black spotted pufferfish.  If you catch it, don’t eat it. The black spotted pufferfish.  If you catch it, don’t eat it.

Pufferfish, one of the most celebrated and infamous menu items in Japan, contain large amounts of tetrodotoxin in the liver, ovaries and skin. The poison is lethal with just 2 mg of exposure and there is no known antidote. Restaurant preparation of the fish is strictly controlled by laws in Japan and other countries and generally only the most-skilled chefs can safely prepare it. Yet, even then, fugu liver has been banned from Japanese restaurant menus since 1984.

The Burmese crew caught their giant black pufferfish on their ninth day out of Samut Prakan. The Laotian captain advised the men to discard the fish, as it was too dangerous, but one of the Mon sailors believed he could follow the Japanese recipe. He boiled the meat, but fried the highly poisonous eggs. Ten minutes after digging in, paralysis and death struck.

Hospital officials announce that they were able to revive one fisherman that had been in critical condition after foolishly eating a pufferfish. 2 others died, whilst 6 survived. Hospital officials announce that they were able to revive one fisherman that had been in critical condition after foolishly eating a pufferfish. 2 others died, whilst 6 survived.

Tetrotoxin paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious. The victim is unable to breathe, and eventually dies from asphyxiation. The only treatment is to support the victim’s breathing and respiration until the toxin is metabolized and excreted from the body.