Sun, 10 Dec 2023

BORDEAUX, France: Some Ireland rugby fans were among the 25 people hospitalized after a botulism outbreak in Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, resulted in one death and multiple hospitalizations.

The owner of the wine bar has taken "responsibility" for the incident, according to the owner's lawyer.

Scientific analyses confirmed the presence of type B botulism in the sardine tapas dish and in the blood of several victims. A 30-year-old man from Mayo, Ireland, who was in Bordeaux for Ireland's Rugby World Cup match against Romania, remains in a Paris hospital intensive care unit, while his Greek wife (32) passed away after consuming the same sardines.

The public prosecutor's office in Bordeaux has initiated a preliminary investigation as approximately 25 people, including Irish rugby fans, appear to have contracted the rare infection after dining at the establishment on Rue Emile Duploy in Bordeaux's old town.

The Bordeaux public prosecutor's office has confirmed that they have opened an official "preliminary investigation into the charges of unintentional injuries, involuntary homicide, placing harmful foodstuffs on the market and sale of corrupt or toxic foodstuffs," according to French media reports.

The cases came to light on the night of September 9, following Ireland's victory over Romania. All affected patrons had visited the bar between September 4 and 10. The owner's lawyer, Stphane Guitard, revealed that his client has been working closely with authorities to identify those who consumed the sardines and is deeply distressed by the incident.

Despite questions about compliance with hygiene rules, Guitard believes it is too early to draw conclusions in that regard. He and his client are awaiting expert findings.

Type B botulism, a severe and sometimes fatal neurological condition, was confirmed in the sardine dish. Investigations suggest contamination may have been caused by a condiment or through improper handling.

Currently, 11 people remain hospitalized, with the majority in France. The affected individuals are in stable condition. The joint investigation involves various authorities and may result in the owners facing jail terms and fines.

An autopsy on the deceased woman will provide further insights into the tragic incident.

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