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In Sumy Oblast in northeastern Ukraine, four people were hospitalized with botulism after eating homemade canned mushrooms at a dinner in the city of Lebedin.

Image/Robert Herriman

According to the medical director of the Clinical Center for Infectious Diseases and Dermatology, Krasovitsky Irina Trotskaya, two victims were hospitalized at the center for infectious diseases in Sumy, two remained to be treated in the city hospital.

She notes she only had one dose of anti-botulism serum, which was administered to a 44-year-old woman who was the sickest. The second patient of the center went to the doctor too late, and the serum would not have helped him. 

The other two had to purchase the anti-toxin on the private market outside the region as there was none to be found in the hospitals, nor in pharmacies.

The Ministry of Health must import the consignment from abroad, register it in Ukraine and distribute it.

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So far in 2021, Ukraine has reported 80 foodborne botulism outbreaks involving 89 patients, including three children.

In most cases, botulism in Ukraine is due to the consumption of dried and salted freshwater and sea fish (40%), meat, fish, vegetables, mushroom canned food and other meat products made at home or bought in unauthorized places.