Philippines: 2 dead from sea cucumber food poisoning

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by CARINE M. ASUTILLA, ABS-CBN Central Visayas | 04/13/2009 9:15 PM

Two people died while four others are in critical condition in Cebu after eating a fried sea cucumber delicacy on Saturday, a report said.

The casualties were identified as Neriejen Rumbo, 10, and Abunjo Golbe, 53, who were among six victims rushed to Lapu-Lapu District Hospital Sunday morning for food poisoning. They were later transferred to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center for laboratory tests.
Abunjo died Sunday afternoon while Neriejen passed away on Monday at dawn.

The other victims, identified as Climaco Golbe, Renato Golbe, Jonalyn Rumbo, and Jomarie Resalena are reportedly still in critical condition.
Danilo Rosalena, Neriejen's uncle, said that the family had eaten fried sea cucumber, locally called "donsol" for dinner on Saturday night. Hours after eating, the victims started feeling abdominal pains and breathing difficulties. They were also dehydrated when they were rushed to the hospital.

Rosalena said that this was the first time that the family had experienced negative symptoms after eating donsol.

Assistant Regional Director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Allan Poquit said that the incident was the first time in the area that a sea cucumber was reported to have caused food poisoning.

According to Poquit, the sea cucumber, a herbivore, is not known for being poisonous but it secretes blue ink from its skin which is potentially lethal to any predators. "Something must have gone wrong when [the victims] prepared the food," he said in his native dialect.

Poquit said that when eating donsol, one should clean the skin thoroughly and boil the sea cucumber before frying to ensure its safety for consumption.

He added that donsol samples from the victims' dinner were taken for laboratory examination to determine what caused the poisoning. Some of the samples will also be sent to the BFAR main office in Manila for chemical analysis.

as of 04/13/2009 10:54 PM



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