IRISH Rugby fans have been warned to stay on high alert due to a botulism outbreak in Bordeaux, where the World Cup is taking place.
One person has passed away and eight people have been hospitalised as a result of rare food borne botulism poisoning, according to local reports.
Irish Rugby fans flocked to the area to watch Ireland make a dream start to the World Cup with record win vs Romania.
However, they have been warned, alongside locals and other visitors to the area, to be "extremely vigilant" if they have been to the affected location.
The outbreak has taken place in Bordeaux and Ile de France near Paris.
It is linked to one specific restaurant and believed to be due to tinned sardines made by the owner who served them in the popular wine bar.
The bar involved, Tchin Tchin wine bar, is very popular with tourists.
The local health body, Agence Regionale de Sante Nouvelle-Aquitane said: "Most people are of foreign nationality (American, Canadian, German).
"They all frequented the same bar in Bordeaux, the Tchin Tchin Wine Bar, over the last week.
"The suspected foods at this stage are canned sardines made at home by the restaurant owner."
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They added: "Given the incubation time (from a few hours to a few days) and the serious nature of the disease (botulism is fatal in 5 to 10 per cent of cases), the ARS Nouvelle-Aquitaine alerted the SOS Médecins network and emergency services.
"People who have visited this Bordeaux establishment are called upon to be extremely vigilant and to consult in the event of symptoms."
There are no reports of Irish fans affected at this time.
Botulism is a serious and life-threatening illness which can cause paralysis and death, according to the HSE.
Foodborne botulism can happen by eating foods that have been contaminated with botulinum toxin.
Common sources of foodborne botulism are homemade foods that have been improperly canned, preserved, or fermented.
SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Though uncommon, store-bought foods also can be contaminated with botulinum toxin.
The HSPC said: "Botulism produces a neurological condition affecting the nerves of the body.
"Symptoms often begin with blurred vision and difficulty in swallowing and speaking, but sometimes diarrhoea and vomiting can occur.
"The disease can lead to problems with vision, and paralysis.
"Most cases make a recovery, but the recovery period can be many months."
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It is usually a matter of 12-36 hours between exposure to the toxin and the development of symptoms.
In infant botulism, a number of days may elapse between ingestion of the spores and the release of the toxin.
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