A five-year-old boy succumbed to food poisoning Tuesday after eating puffer fish, locally often known as “buriring”, together with his family in Pangan-anan, Olango Island, Cebu. Dr. Ramon Najarro, officer-in-charge of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the guy was the only casualty among the 9 family members after having breakfast.
Najarro said the boy passed away at home after members of the family, except for the 15-year-old eldest daughter, ate some small puffer fish caught by a boy sibling the night before.The rest of the victims, who all of the manifested symptoms of food poisoning , were rushed to the Sta. Rosa Community Hospital in Olango and then subsequently transferred late Tuesday night to the VSMMC for further treatment.
Najarro said they could not reveal the identity of the deceased and the patients due to data security involving personal information. “They all presented signs of food poisoning – dizziness, abdominal pain, and then vomiting. Sadly, the five-year-old son succumbed to the condition at home,” Najarro said. Dr. Beethoven Bongon, VSMMC toxicologist, said symptoms of food poisoning due to eating puffer fish typically manifest just 45 minutes after ingestion, and the six hours delay in the manifestation is quite unusual.
“This is why we have to check out further. The cause could be bacterial. A heavy dose of the toxins from the puffer fish is fatal. Some have died just 15 minutes after ingestion,” Bongon said. He said they may try to explore other causes of the food poisoning besides the consumption of puffer fish.