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Greek woman dies, Irish husband in ICU, several hospitalized after botulism outbreak in Bordeaux wine bar

A young Greek woman has died in Bordeaux, France, after dinner at a local 4-star restaurant. Her husband, an Irish national, and another 20 people, among them her parents got sick with botulism after consuming sardines, the owner himself had canned.

The botulism outbreak took place in the famous restaurant Tchin Tchin Wine Bar in Bordeaux, the city considered the capital of wine.


Speaking exclusively to Mega TV, the victim’s parents said that their daughter died after a few hours after the meal.

“She had gone to a hospital, but she wasn’t correctly diagnosed and sent home where shed died,” her mother said.

The 32-year-old woman was accompanied by her Irish husband, as the two were permanent residents in Paris, er father and some friends.

Her husband is hospitalized in critical condition in a hospital near Paris, while at least another 10 other people have been poisoned and are hospitalized, 7 of them in ICU.

The native of Athens and her Irish husband have been living together in Paris since last May when they got married.

They travelled to Bordeaux for the Rugby World Cup match against Romania and dined together in the Tchin Tchin wine bar which has been linked to an outbreak of botulism among customers who consumed sardines.

On becoming ill, the Greek-born woman and her Irish husband returned to Paris where they visited a hospital.

“We went to this particular restaurant, we had seafood and sardines, and it seems that from this restaurant we some 20 people got sick with botulism. My daughter’s husband is in intensive care and will be released tomorrow. From their infected friends one is hospitalized in  Barcelona in critical condition.”

Since Sunday, the young woman had symptoms and sought medical help and treatment.

“At the moment, a preliminary investigation is being conducted by the Bordeaux prosecutor and the local police”, her parents said.

“All the cases of botulism were recorded at the well-known ‘Tchin Tchin wine bar’ restaurant in Bordeaux between Monday September 4 and Sunday September 10, 2023. All of them consumed sardines in jars made by the restaurant owner” the French authorities stressed on their part about the tragic incident.

What is Botulism

Botulism is a serious neurological condition caused by a poisonous toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It occurs after eating foods containing the toxin or due to development of spores within the intestine or within wounds. Food botulism is the dominant form of the disease, and symptoms of paralysis generally appear after an incubation period of 12–36 hours following consumption of food containing the toxin. Between 5 and 10 per cent of people with the illness die.

Public Health France said the outbreak is suspected to have originated in sardines consumed there between September 4th and 10th.

Health Alert

In a statement, the ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a local health authority, said the majority of those receiving treatment at University Hospital Bordeaux for suspected botulism were from the US, Canada and Germany. It also called on those who recently ate in the wine bar to be vigilant and report any symptoms, the irishtimes reported.

Officers from the local department of public protection have investigated the bar and took samples to test for toxins. The results are expected within three days.

The wine bar has been asked by health officials to restrict its service to wine and food products which are not likely to present a risk of botulism.

Dr Greg Martin, the director of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), said only those who ate sardines in the bar on the dates in question could be affected.

He said botulism is a potentially fatal condition. “Symptoms include blurred vision and difficulty in swallowing and speaking, but sometimes diarrhea and vomiting can occur. The disease can lead to problems with vision, and paralysis.”

PS If I was a health inspector, I would have shut down the Tchin Tchin wine bar to start with…

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  1. “PS If I was a health inspector, I would have shut down the Tchin Tchin wine bar to start with…”
    Very much so! C’est incroyable that they are still allowed to work.

  2. I agree with you, KTG. Beyond belief that it is still open.

  3. 13 September 2023, LE FIGARO:
    “The Tchin Tchin Wine Bar has not been subject to administrative closure, but it is required to only sell products that are not homemade, such as wine, specifies the DDPP (Departmental Directorate for Population Protection). This Wednesday, however, the bar decided to close until further notice.”

    It is unbelievable that the bar was not required to shut down. But at least it is closed since Wednesday.
    Let us hope that there will not be any more fatalities.
    My thoughts go to the victims and their families.