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CanadaExposure to toxic coral in home aquarium puts Quebec woman in hospital

22:22  10 may  2019
22:22  10 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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A Quebec woman who ended up in hospital after cleaning out her home aquarium is warning others to think twice before adding coral to their fish tanks. Mélissa Tremblay fell ill last Friday night after she transferred her collection of coral to a larger aquarium in her home in Saint-Léonard-de-Portneuf, an

They blame toxins released by coral for landing them in hospital and driving them from their home . Seven members of a family are recovering from illness they say was caused by exposure to a toxic coral in their home aquarium . His wife returned to the hospital on Tuesday for further examination.

Exposure to toxic coral in home aquarium puts Quebec woman in hospital © Julia Page/CBC Frédéric and Mélissa Tremblay estimated they have spent $2,500 on their saltwater aquarium and were never warned about the toxicity of Zoanthids.

A Quebec woman who ended up in hospital after cleaning out her home aquarium is warning others to think twice before adding coral to their fish tanks.

Mélissa Tremblay fell ill last Friday night after she transferred her collection of coral to a larger aquarium in her home in Saint-Léonard-de-Portneuf, an hour northwest of Quebec City.

Exposure to toxic coral in home aquarium puts Quebec woman in hospital © Julia Page/CBC Tremblay's three children, Nicolas, left, Mélody and Nathan, stayed with their grandparents for six days before returning home on Thursday.

"I saw a piece of coral break off, but I had no idea it would release something so toxic," said the mother of three.

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How did an Adelaide family of seven end up in hospital after cleaning the coral in their home aquarium ? An Aldinga family of seven was taken to hospital on Tuesday morning after experiencing conditions believed to be caused from exposure to coral spores.

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Within minutes, Tremblay started sneezing.

"It was as if I was having an allergic reaction to a cat," Tremblay said. The symptoms quickly worsened, and the burning sensation spread from her forehead to her lungs.

"It felt like I had swallowed a gallon of bleach," said Tremblay.

Within the hour, she was admitted to Saint-Raymond Hospital for palytoxin poisoning. Palytoxin is a highly toxic substance found in several marine species, including Zoantharia coral. Public health officials told her to get her three children out of the house, even if they weren't showing any symptoms.

"By then, I was in good hands — but I was worried about them," said Tremblay.

'Don't buy corals'

The Quebec Poison Control Centre is recommending that people stay away from corals altogether.

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Then the woman discovered beautiful polyps in the aquarium , which had not been there before, but she did not know that they were fraught with mortal Palitoy is a few dozen types of colonial corals , and they are often among the most beautiful creatures with the brightest colors in home aquariums .

Do you like aquariums and betta fish? Today i removed my toxic coral that died :( I talked a lot about this guy in my last video I got zoanthids which are part of the palythoa family.

"All corals are dangerous, and our motto is, 'Don't buy corals'," said Dr. Maude St-Onge, the centre's medical director.

"These are living animals, and if you break them they can release toxins," said St-Onge. She confirmed there have only been two reported cases in Quebec, to date.

Exposure to toxic coral in home aquarium puts Quebec woman in hospital © Julia Page/CBC Mélissa Tremblay said she fell ill just minutes after transferring a pair of Zoanthid corals, bottom left, from her home aquarium.

Tremblay was released from hospital the following day and hasn't experienced any side effects.

In 2018, a family of seven from the Gatineau region fell seriously ill after transferring Australian Zoanthids in their aquarium.

Quebec City's regional public health director, Dr. Isabelle Goupil-Sormany, said the information about the corals is limited, but problems normally occur when they are being manipulated outside of the water.

She warned that a broken coral, once it is re-immersed, can contaminate the whole tank and become a risk for the entire household.

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The aerosolized toxin has affected entire families following exposure to Zoantharia coral in the home . The presentation of this patient and his family and the synchronicity of symptomatic onset are highly indicative of a toxic inhalational exposure from the coral species in their home aquarium .

image caption"Potentially toxic " fumes were emitted from coral in a fish tank (stock image). A man who needed hospital treatment after inhaling chemicals He believes the toxin was released when he removed some spores from a rock while it was out of the water. "We did not know that doing it out of

"So honestly, it's better to be twice as prudent," said Goupil-Sormany.

Call in specialists

Goupil-Sormany said since this is a fairly recent phenomenon, officials are still trying to figure out the best course for coral collectors to follow.

She recommends that people who already have corals in their homes should call specialists if they want to remove them — or at the least wear gloves, a mask and glasses.

"You should really avoid touching them altogether," she said.

Dr. Sormany-Goupil said public health authorities intend to launch an awareness campaign to make sure those who own aquariums, and those who sell them, are aware of the dangers.

The Tremblay family has spent nearly $2,500 to equip their salt-water aquarium.

In four years, Tremblay said she's never had any issues — but she's also never been advised to take extra precautions.

"Anyone can buy these, and the only advice I was given was on how much light they needed," she said.

"It's important they don't sell corals that are dangerous to people, there are so many other options out there," said Tremblay, who is not ready to give up on her passion just yet.

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Many aquarium store employees and marine aquarium hobbyists are not aware of palytoxin as a He was admitted to the hospital for supportive care. Patients B and C gradually improved throughout Although not all zoanthids contain palytoxin, some zoanthids commonly found in home aquariums

Exposure to toxic coral in home aquarium puts Quebec woman in hospital © Julia Page/CBC Mélissa Tremblay said she fell ill just minutes after transferring a pair of Zoanthid corals, bottom left, from her home aquarium.

She will however be hiring a specialist to remove the two Zoanthids from her tank.

Her family returned home on Thursday and followed the public health agency's instructions to decontaminate the home provided, scrubbing every surface with bleach.

"We would have preferred to hire professionals, but our insurance company wouldn't cover the costs," Tremblay said.

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