An Irish man suffering from botulism remains hospitalized near Paris, France on Thursday after his wife, believed to be a native of Greece, died from the same illness earlier in the week after a botulism outbreak at a Bordeaux wine bar.
The man, who is a native of Co Mayo according to the Irish Times, is understood to have “turned a corner” and has been transferred to a high dependency unit, a family friend told Independent.ie on Thursday morning.
France’s public health agency Santé publique France said early on Thursday that ten cases of botulism had been confirmed, resulting in one fatality and eight hospitalizations.
The botulism outbreak has been linked to sardines that were served at Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, where thousands of people visited recently for the Rugby World Cup.
The UK Health Security agency said on Thursday that French public health authorities have identified at least 29 people who ate the implicated food.
According to Independent.ie, the Irish man and his wife, who traveled to Bordeaux for Ireland's opening Rugby World Cup fixture against Romania, dined in Tchin Tchin.
On becoming ill, the couple returned to Paris, where they had been living since getting married earlier this year, and were hospitalized.
According to RTÉ, the Irish man's 32-year-old wife, who was a Greek national, was discharged from hospital but subsequently died as a result of complications thought to be linked to the neurological illness.
The Irish man's family has reportedly traveled to Paris to be at his bedside and are appealing to Irish fans returning from Bordeaux to be aware of the symptoms of botulism.
French authorities say that symptoms of botulism include, to varying degrees: early digestive signs which may be fleeting (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea), eye damage (failure to accommodate, blurred or double vision), dryness of the mouth accompanied by a deficiency in swallowing or even speech, or neurological symptoms (wrong paths, more or less severe paralysis of the muscles). There is usually no fever.
Santé publique France said that if you visited Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, France between September 4 and September 10 and are showing symptoms of botulism, you should contact your local emergency department “urgently.”
The health agency noted: “This does not spread from person to person and there is no risk to the general population.”
Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) have responded to the Bordeaux botulism outbreak and urged people who are showing symptoms after dining at Tchin Tchin to visit a doctor immediately.
The HSE said on Wednesday that "unfortunately, a small number of Irish citizens have been affected and are receiving appropriate care in France."
The HSE said the HPSC was alerted to the botulism outbreak on September 12 by French authorities via mechanisms for exchange of information on health threats, with further detail on the implicated restaurant becoming available on September 13.
Dr. Greg Martin, director of the HPSC, said: “It is important to emphasize that this advice only applies to those who ate sardines at the premises during the time specified.
"There are no other circumstances in which a person can be affected by this incident."