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Outbreak of botulism in France: Bordeaux

14 Sep 2023

According to the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA), French public health authorities have reported an outbreak of foodborne botulism linked to one restaurant in Bordeaux. A small number of British nationals are reported to have been affected.

The outbreak is linked to marinaded sardines served by the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux. People who ate at the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar, Bordeaux between 4 and 10 September 2023 are advised to contact the nearest Emergency Department.

Botulism can be a serious illness which may lead to paralysis. It is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria which can contaminate food.

Symptoms of botulism can develop within a few hours to several days after exposure and can include generalised /limb/facial weakness, visual disturbance, exhaustion, breathing and/or swallowing difficulties.

Advice for Travellers

All travellers, irrespective of destination are potentially at risk of botulism infection. To reduce your risk of becoming infected, you should:

  • practice good hand hygiene and safe food and water precautions at all times

  • avoid eating food from bulging or damaged cans, foul-smelling preserved foods, foods stored at the incorrect temperature or out-of-date foods

  • be careful if consuming food that has been home canned/preserved/cured (including honey from local unregulated suppliers) as these have occasionally been shown to be a source of infection

  • avoid storing food whlst travelling unless you have access to refrigerator facilities - many cases of botulism are linked to foods that are improperly refrigerated prior to consumption

  • seek urgent medical advice if you develop symptoms during or after travel

Further information