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Whitebait Warning After Cholera Symptoms


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Whitebait warning after cholera symptoms

NEW South Wales Health is urging people to avoid eating raw whitebait after three women were admitted to hospital today with cholera-like symptoms.

The women are suffering from severe diarrhoea and further tests at two Sydney hospitals are being carried out to determine whether or not they have contracted cholera.

The disease can be passed on through water or food contaminated with the cholera bacterium, which spreads rapidly when sewage and drinking water are inadequately treated.

Although authorities are yet to establish an exact source of the toxic fish, it is known the women bought the whitebait from local fish shops.

It is believed those fish shops import their whitebait from China.

Authorities would not reveal where the women live or the location of the shops that sold them the fish.

NSW Food Authority spokesman Adrian Bradley said samples had been taken from the women and results were expected back in a few days.

“We've been working with industry and this product has been withheld from sale, so now we're waiting to see what the results come back as,” Mr Bradley said.

“We're still also trying to trace back and find where the product has come in from.”

Mr Bradley said a cholera outbreak often stems from sanitation problems in developing countries.

“If it is cholera, it would be one of the very rare occurrences in Australia as we very rarely get cholera outbreaks or problems here,” Mr Bradley said.

The Food Authority recommends whitebait be cooked before being eaten to eliminate any potential cholera strain.

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