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BREAKING: Two Deaths Caused by Blowfish Poisoning

Phnom Penh: Following a public advisory issued on July 6, 2024, in response to seven cases of Blowfish poisoning in Kampong Chhnang province, the Ministry of Health released an urgent announcement on July 8, 2024, as the situation worsened. On July 7, 2024, a man in Oddar Meanchey province died after consuming Blowfish, and on July 8, 2024, another man in Kampong Chhnang province succumbed to similar poisoning. The latter victim was not among the previously reported seven cases.

In response, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, urges all citizens to exercise heightened caution and responsibility to avoid further cases of Blowfish poisoning, which poses severe health risks and can be fatal. The ministries emphasize that the toxins in catfish are highly resistant to cooking and freezing, rendering these methods ineffective in neutralizing the poison. 

Particularly during the breeding seasons, which occur in February, March, and from July to September, the toxicity of Blowfish is at its peak. Consumption of these fish leads to toxins entering the central nervous system, with the highest concentrations found in the eggs and spleen, followed by the liver, intestines, skin, and meat.

Symptoms of poisoning manifest within 20 minutes to two hours after ingestion and include itching in the lips and mouth, headache, dizziness, limb itching, speech difficulty, loss of balance, weakness, muscle paralysis, vomiting, severe diarrhea, and stiff jaw. In severe instances, respiratory distress can lead to death. Immediate relief can be sought through induced vomiting, if possible, to expel some of the toxins. It is imperative that victims seek urgent medical attention at the nearest healthcare facility capable of providing necessary medical care due to the critical nature of this poisoning.

The Ministry of Health strongly advises all citizens to heed these warnings and disseminate this vital information to family, friends, and communities to prevent further illnesses and fatalities from Blowfish poisoning.

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