Child dies in Sorsogon shellfish poisoning

Posted at 08/18/10 3:54 PM

SORSOGON, Philippines - A boy died while 8 more members of his family were rushed to hospital after eating shellfish contaminated with red tide toxins.

Six-year-old Brent Espaldon was declared dead on arrival in a local hospital in Sorsogon province, 4 hours after consuming "baluko" or pen shells contaminated with red tide toxins on Sunday.

Authorities said baluko that were consumed by the Espaldon family were harvested from the red tide-contaminated Sorsogon Bay.

The other members of the Espaldon family rushed to hospital were parents Bernabe and Leny Espaldon and children Vanessa Lyn, Christian, Beverly, John Bernard, Bryan and Bren’t twin brother, Brix.

Members of the Espaldon family were discharged from hospital only on Tuesday.

The boy’s parents, meanwhile, are faced with financial trouble. Aside from their medical expenses, the Espaldon couple has to look for money for Brent’s burial.

Members of the local police patrolled around public markets in the province and warned vendors against selling shellfish from the contaminated bay.

The Bureau of Food and Drugs said that based on its monitoring, the toxicity level of the Sorsogon Bay has increased to 131 micrograms per 100 grams of shellmeat, way above the tolerable limit of 60 micrograms per 100 grams of shellmeat. – Report from Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN Bicol