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Capitol to give financial aid to puffer fish victims

() - March 12, 2008 - 12:00am

The Cebu Provincial government will give financial assistance to the family of the victims of puffer fish poisoning in Madridejos town and will shoulder their hospital expenses.

Marivic Garces, the provincial social welfare development officer, said Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will personally give the P5,000 cash assistance to the family of the fatality, Jose Abner Batbatan, of barangay Malbago in Madridejos.

Batbatan’s 28-year-old wife Jocelyn and their four children Gaudioso, 11; Glenn, 9; Maryjane, 7; and Gerard, 2 were admitted to Bantayan District Hospital after eating puffer fish locally known as “butete.”

Aside from the Batbatan’s family, neighbors Junnifer and Sanita Nipangue, Cecilio Mancio, Jojen Conejos, Guillermo Tayatag and sisters Merlinda and Myrna Roxas were also admitted to the hospital.

All the victims complained of severe stomach pains shortly after eating eight kilos of puffer fish.

This is not the first incident involving puffer fish poisoning that occurred in the barangay. Last year, at least four people died and five others got ill after eating the fish.

Garces said the latest incident should serve as a warning to the residents not to eat puffer fish.

“Di man g’yud ta kapugong ana nila kung mangaon g’yud na sila og butete pero dapat unta magbantay gyud sila,” Garces said.

Wikipedia, an online dictionary, has defined puffer fish as the second most poisonous animal in the world. There are more than 120 species of puffer fish worldwide.

Puffer fish’s skin and some internal organs are highly toxic to humans. But the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan.

Called fugu, it is extremely expensive and only prepared by trained, licensed chefs who know that one bad cut means almost certain death for a customer.

The puffer’s toxin is called tetrodotoxin, which is an exceptionally lethal poison. It is approximately 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide.

There are enough toxins in one puffer fish to kill 30 adult humans.

Puffer’s (tetrodotoxin) poisoning will cause deadening of the tongue and lips, dizziness, and vomiting. These are followed by numbness and prickling over the body, rapid heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and muscle paralysis.

Death results from suffocation as diaphragm muscles are paralyzed. Patients who live longer than 24 hours are expected to survive, although the poison can cause comas lasting several days. – Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/LPM

BATBATAN CEBU PROVINCIAL CECILIO MANCIO FISH GARCES GOVERNOR GWENDOLYN GARCIA PUFFER
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