Tragedy Strikes: 9 Dead and 78 Hospitalized After Consuming Sea Turtle Meat on Zanzibar’s Pemba Island

by Ella
healthy diet

In a devastating turn of events, eight children and one adult lost their lives after consuming sea turtle meat on Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago. Additionally, 78 individuals were hospitalized following the consumption of this delicacy, authorities revealed on Saturday.

Despite being considered a delicacy by the people of Zanzibar, sea turtle meat is known to pose significant health risks, periodically resulting in fatalities due to chelonitoxism—a form of food poisoning.


According to Dr. Haji Bakari, the medical officer of Mkoani District, the adult who passed away late Friday was the mother of one of the children who had succumbed earlier. The consumption of turtle meat occurred on Tuesday, leading to this tragic outcome.


Laboratory tests conducted confirmed that all victims had consumed sea turtle meat, further underscoring the link between the consumption of this delicacy and the subsequent health complications.


Responding to the crisis, authorities in Zanzibar—semi-autonomous region of Tanzania—mobilized a disaster management team led by Hamza Hassan Juma. Urging caution, Juma emphasized the importance of avoiding the consumption of sea turtles to prevent further tragedies of this nature.


This isn’t the first incident of its kind in the region. In November 2021, seven individuals, including a 3-year-old child, lost their lives on Pemba Island after consuming turtle meat. Three others were hospitalized as a result of the same incident, serving as a stark reminder of the risks associated with consuming this particular delicacy.

As investigations continue and authorities work to address the aftermath of this tragedy, the incident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of food safety and the potential consequences of consuming exotic or hazardous foods.



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