13 Nov 2010

Six deaths and serious illness in FSM after feast of endangered turtle

8:38 am on 13 November 2010

Six people have died and more than 90 fallen ill after eating endangered turtles in the Federated States of Micronesia

The Government's public information office says the deaths, which included four children, occurred after a feast on the island of Murilo in mid-October where the rare hawksbill turtle was consumed. .

It said government health officials and the World Health Organisation found the deaths were a result of chelonitoxism, a type of poisoning caused by biotoxins in turtle flesh for which there is no known antidote.

Hawksbill turtles is a species known to cause chelonitoxism and children are particularly vulnerable to the condition.

It said health authorities had recommended a complete ban on eating turtles and their eggs as a result of the deaths.