Woman, 32, Dies of Botulism Poisoning After Eating Sardines at French Bar

A Greek woman has died and at least a dozen other people — including Americans and Canadians — are being treated for the potentially fatal illness

<p>UGO AMEZ/SIPA/Shutterstock</p> Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux.

UGO AMEZ/SIPA/Shutterstock

Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux.

A woman has died and several people landed in the ICU from a botulism outbreak at a popular bar in Bordeaux, France.

Tchin Tchin wine bar hosted several tourists over the weekend who were in town to watch the Ireland vs. Romania Rugby Game, taking place as part of the Rugby World Cup 2023.

Also in attendance were a 32-year-old Greek woman, her Irish husband, and her father, according to local Greek station Live News.

A few afters after eating at Tchin Tchin, the woman went to the hospital, and according to one local report, died a few hours later. Her husband and father remain in critical condition in the ICU. A total of 12 people ended up in the hospital — with five of them on ventilators — The Guardian reports.

<p>UGO AMEZ/SIPA/Shutterstock</p> Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux.

UGO AMEZ/SIPA/Shutterstock

Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux.

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Now prosecutors have opened up a manslaughter case against the owner of Tchin Tchin, who preserved the sardines that have been singled out as the cause of the outbreak, according to CBS News. He faces up to five years in prison.

"All the cases were recorded at the well-known restaurant 'Tchin Tchin wine bar' in Bordeaux between Monday September 4 and Sunday September 10, 2023. All of them consumed sardines in jars made by the restaurateur,” according to a translated statement that French authorities made to Live News.

Related: Texas Man Dies from Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Consuming Raw Oysters at Galveston Restaurant

Botulism is a “rare but serious” condition caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, according to the Mayo Clinic, which points out that canned food is often a vector for the illness.

“The harmful bacteria thrive and make the toxin in environments with little oxygen, such as in home-canned food,” the Mayo Clinic says.

Depending on how much toxin was consumed, symptoms may start within a few hours, and include trouble swallowing or speaking, nausea, trouble breathing, and blurred vision.

Although antitoxins can help limit the damage botulism does, “recovery may take months and typically involves extended rehabilitation therapy,” the Mayo Clinic says.

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A local newspaper quoted Tchin Tchin’s owner as saying he threw out some of the sardines as they had a strong smell when he opened them — however others appeared “in good condition,” The Guardian reported, “and were served up to customers.”

The bar is currently listed as "temporarily closed" according to its Google listing, and its website has been taken offline.

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