Sunday, January 7, 2018

Wild meat and botulism - update.

As I suggested in the original post, the tests on food and other samples have now shown that the poisoning of the family in New Zealand, apparently caused by Clostridium botulinum, was not caused by botulin toxin. However, no other explanation for the families symptoms is forthcoming. Conspiracy theorists are suggesting the boar had consumed 1080 poison (used for possum control) but there is no evidence for this. Many other toxins could be involved - fungal or plant toxins, or even toxins in spices brought from India by a relative of the family. Chances are we will never discover the cause in this case. However, reading the increasingly confusing reports around the case does raise concerns that more extensive testing was not conducted at the time.

A further possible explanation might be provided by a Massey University PhD student's work.  Hayley Hunt of the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences is investigating a rare disease in hunting dogs called Go Slow. The disease affects the dogs’ ability to walk by altering the mitochondria (energy-producing structures within cells), so that their muscles are no longer able to contract.  She says the likely cause of the disease is dogs eating wild pig meat that has been poisoned when the pig eats particular plants. The identity of the plant and toxin that may be tainting the pig meat is currently unknown and may be difficult to define, as there are so many possibilities.

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