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Father, son hospitalized after eating fugu eggs

Date Posted: 2002-05-28

Officials at Naha City Hospital reported that a 50-year old man and his 10-year old son were hospitalized on May 23rd with symptoms ranging from general numbness to inability to urinate. Doctors at the hospital concluded that the two were victims of poisoning. The two told doctors that they had eaten fugu (puffer fish) eggs for dinner. After the dinner, the father's arms and legs became numb and he felt totally powerless. The son had even stronger symptoms and he also was unable to urinate.

Both remain hospitalized and are recovering. According to prefecture health officials there has been five cases of fugu poisoning in Okinawa since 1984. Fugu, or puffer fish, is considered a delicacy in Japan and Okinawa, but unless prepared correctly, the meal can cause severe poisoning that may lead to death. In Japanese restaurants chefs who prepare fugu meals must have a certificate to show that they have the proper training to prepare the fish. Some parts of the fish contain potent poison because the fish eats corals, some of which are poisonous. Fugu is common in Okinawan waters and grow as large as one meter in length.

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