BELLUNO – That dish with mixed salad, seared fresh tuna, corn, cherry tomatoes and PDO Campania buffalo looked very appetizing. But, a few minutes after eating it, the first strange symptoms appeared: throbbing head with endless headache, red eyes and ears, intestinal disorders. There are 4 people who ended up in the emergency room yesterday for eating tuna in two different restaurants in the city. In the afternoon the Ulss alarm went off that warned: “As a precaution, in the next few hours, pending the precise identification of the causes of the event, it is advisable to avoid the consumption of fresh tuna”.
THE INCRIMINATED LUNCH
Intoxicated people are workers who were on their lunch break. They went, like every day, to their trusted restaurant: a local pizzeria and a tavern, both very central. They chose that mouthwatering dish on the menu and were sick immediately afterwards. After a few minutes the first symptoms appeared already at the table. These are people who did not know each other, who had the consumption of tuna as the only point in common.
They went, one after the other, to the San Martino emergency room where the necessary analyzes were carried out and the medicines indicated in cases of intoxication were administered. All 4 patients, men and women, were heard by Ulss staff, who are carrying out the investigations and who immediately contacted the Nas, the carabinieri of the Treviso Anti-Sophistication Unit. The test tubes with the samples were sent to Verona to the poison control center for investigations. Only in the next few hours will we know something more: all patients have been kept for observation in the emergency room. Nobody would be very serious. The patients hospitalized for scombroid syndrome were discharged today in good condition. The indisposition, which manifests itself with skin rashes, gastrointestinal disorders, pressure drop and neurological symptoms such as headaches and visual disturbances, is caused by a substance called histamine which, according to the local health authority Ulss n.1, is formed in following inadequate conservation of the fish at temperatures, that is, not below 4 degrees, or even during a defrosting phase that lasts for more than two hours.
“In the afternoon of today – Ulss 1 Dolomiti explained yesterday from its social channels – the Belluno Emergency Department treated four cases of scombroid syndrome attributable to the consumption of fresh tuna in two different restaurants”. “The scombroid syndrome – the doctors say – is linked to the absorption of histamine contained in the food, is characterized by headache, redness of the skin, conjunctivitis, intestinal disorders that appear within an hour of eating food”. It is therefore a food-related pathology caused by the consumption of fish products contaminated by bacteria in the absence of organoleptic alterations. An alteration that cannot be perceived by tasting or by smell: the fresh tuna was very good. The bacteria responsible in themselves are not pathogenic but are able to transform an amino acid (histidine), present in abundance in some species of fish, (tuna, mackerel, anchovies the most common) into histamine which, if present in large quantities, is responsible for the pathology
“The Department of Prevention, in agreement with the Nas of Treviso, is committed to reconstructing the path of the food involved”, the Ulss explained. In fact, the epidemiological investigation was carried out by the Hygiene and Public Health Service and communication of the episode was sent to the competent bodies. Then the inspection of the premises to reconstruct the tuna supply chain. The tax documentation was analyzed to then trace the supplier company. Samples must also be taken for verification.
Contacted on the phone the restaurateurs where the case took place yesterday afternoon they were not unbalanced and did not want to enter into the merits. «We prefer not to say anything – say the owners of the local pizzeria -, they have just notified us. Only tomorrow will we know something more ».