The Tchin Thin wine bar is seen in Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Sept.14, 2023. (Sophie Garcia/AP Photo)

3 Canadian residents among 10 suspected botulism cases in France

Public health authorities are investigating a suspected outbreak of botulism in France after 10 suspected cases were reported, three of which are in Canadian residents.

In a news release Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said one of the individuals with a suspected case of botulism, who is not from Canada, has died. Eight others are hospitalized, according to France’s public health officials.

The outbreak is suspected to be linked to Tchin Tchin Wine Bar, a restaurant located close to a popular touristic area near the Rugby World Cup 2023 fan zone in Bordeaux.

Botulism, a rare but serious disease, is caused by a toxin produced by a specific type of bacteria. Humans become infected by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with the toxin.

Public health officials say the source of illness is suspected to be sardines prepared by and served at the restaurant, however, it could also be linked to other meals served at the location.

According to the PHAC, all of the individuals suspected to have the disease ate at that restaurant between Sep. 4 and 10.

“Travellers to France who consumed a meal at Tchin Tchin Wine Bar restaurant between (these dates) should self-monitor for symptoms, and seek immediate medical care if they develop symptoms,” the agency stated in the release.

The disease’s symptoms range from nausea, vomiting, fatigue, constipation, blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, respiratory failure, and paralysis.

Although onset is rapid, symptoms can take up to eight days to appear. After that, an individual can become seriously ill, requiring hospitalization.

“Individuals who require hospitalization can recover, but severe outcomes, including death, are possible,” the PHAC noted.

The Canadian agency says it’s in contact with its international partners, including Santé Publique France, to monitor and address the outbreak.