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Israel’s Ist Botulism in Years Traced to U.S. Whitefish

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The first cases of botulism in Israel in 16 years apparently were caused by contaminated whitefish from the United States, Health Ministry sources said Wednesday.

They reported it was traced to a kilo (2.2 lbs.) of the fish recently brought from Brooklyn, N.Y., by the relative of a 40-year-old woman admitted to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem last week suffering from breathing difficulties and double vision. Investigators went to her home, where they found the fish. Tests proved it to be tainted.

Several days earlier, a 60-year-old woman, a member of the same family, died at Shaare Zedek Hospital. She, too, is believed to have eaten the contaminated fish.

U.S. health authorities have been notified, although the Israeli Health Ministry could not provide the brand name of the fish.

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