Mother and son critical after eating poisonous fish

A Russian tourist and her son are in critical condition at Nicosia General Hospital after eating a poisonous fish.

According to police, the mother and son ate a silver-cheeked toadfish – an extremely poisonous marine bony fish in the family puffer fishes – after the 21-year-old son had caught it and several other silver-cheeked toadfish whilst out fishing.

Their conditions have been described as being ‘extremely critical’.

The silver-cheeked toadfish is extremely poisonous if eaten because it contains tetrodotoxin in its ovaries and to a lesser extent its skin, muscles and liver, which protects it from voracious predators. It becomes toxic as it eats bacteria that contain the toxin.

This deadly substance causes paralysis of voluntary muscles, which may cause its victims to stop breathing or induce heart failure. Fatal intoxications have been reported in Egypt and Israel.

The two were rushed to Nicosia General Hospital from the Famagusta District General Hospital in Paralimni by ambulance after the son slipped into a coma while his 65-year-old mother suffered a heart attack.

Doctors in Paralimni had managed to resuscitate her after she went into cardiac arrest but she is still comatose. The mother’s condition is said to be more critical than that of her son – who is still nonetheless – also said to be critical.

A friend of the 21-year-old had told police that the son had gone fishing on Wednesday morning. The 21-year-old had called his brother in Russia to tell him of his suspicions of food poisoning after his mother began feeling unwell.

His brother, in turn, telephoned a Lithuanian friend he knew that was staying in Cyprus who immediately called for the ambulance.

Police in Paralimni went to the home of the tourists where they found three silver-cheeked toadfish as well as the remains of the fish’s liver and eggs. They also discovered a cooked silver-cheeked toadfish.

There is currently no antidote for the silver-cheeked toadfish poison.

Source: In-Cyprus

Arab News Express