By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
A poison fish that originates in Japan and reached Haifa via the Suez Canal was caught and eaten by two middle-aged Haifa residents, who were hospitalized a few days ago at Rambam Medical Center. The 54-year-old woman (her initials given as H.G.) and her 68-year-old partner suffered serious neurological symptoms after consuming part of the rare and toxic fish, but they have recovered and been discharged.
The woman said her partner is an amateur fisherman who caught a 2.5-kilo fish at Hof Dado in Haifa during her break from work. They took it home and friend it, but decided to eat only the liver and save the rest for another meal. Half an hour later at work, she felt strange, with the sensation of pins and needles in her hands and legs and a lack of coordination. As her workplace has a company doctor, she was examined and rushed to Rambam by ambulance. Neurologist Dr. Luba Rappaport was sure she had had a stroke, as her patient was unable to speak clearly. When her partner was called to the emergency room, he mentioned the fish and said he had the same symptoms.
Dr. Yedidya Ben-Tur, head of the National Poison Control Center located at Rambam, was consulted. Fortunately, Ben-Tur is an expert in poisonous fish and brought to the emergency room pictures of toxic fish, one of which she identified. "That's the fish!" exclaimed her partner, when he saw the lagocephalus sceleratus. Ben-Tur told the couple that had they eaten much more of the fish, they could have died from paralysis of the respiratory muscles. They were given infusions and watched -- there is no antidote for the fish, so that was the only way to treat them.
"I don't intend to eat any fish for a long time, said H.G. The unwanted guest is still in their refrigerator.
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