Puffer fish contains neurotoxins that are about 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide
A four-year-old girl and her grandmother have died while five others of the same family fell sick after eating puffer fish, locally known as patka fish.
The tragic incident took place in the Uttar Sonapahar area under Jorarganj union of Mirsarai upazila in Chittagong on Thursday.
The deceased were identified as Fazila Khatun, 60, and her granddaughter Mariyam Begum.
Mariyam died on the spot while her grandmother died on the way to the hospital.
Fazila Khatun obtained the puffer fish from a nearby fish market. Later, she cooked the fish which the family ate during lunch on Thursday.
Mariyam's mother Bilkis, 35, brothers Rabbi, 12, and Sabbir, 10, sisters Jhorna, 8, and Achhiya, 2, areall undergoing treatment at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH).
Md Shahidul Islam, the on-duty doctor at Mirsarai Upazila Health Complex, confirmed the family fell sick after eating puffer fish.
Inspector Jahirul Islam, in-charge of CMCH police outpost said the five people are undergoing treatment at the hospital after eating puffer fish.
Puffer fish is a cheap fish containing a neurotoxin that causes paralysis of the diaphragm and can cause death. The skin and visceral organs of puffer fish carry acute toxic substances, namely TTX (Tetrodotoxin) and STX (Staxitoxin). Scientists have shown that these toxins are about 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide, having strong resistance against heat.
To the Japanese, this fish is a delicacy. However, they ensure it is safe to consume by adopting proper processing techniques like removing the liver, gonads, salivary glands and skin before cooking.