Question of the Day – Tuesday November 12, 2019

Question – A recent report detailed cases of botulism type E that occurred after consumption of fesikh. What is fesikh?

 

Answer – The cited article states fesikh is “a traditional Egyptian fish dish of uneviscerated gray mullet that is fermented and salt-cured. Fesikh has been linked to foodborne botulism, including a large type E outbreak in Egypt in 1993. The Egyptian Ministry of Health has since issued public health warnings regarding fesikh before Sham el-Nessim, the Egyptian holiday commemorating the beginning of spring, during which fesikh is commonly prepared and eaten. Foodborne botulism outbreaks associated with fesikh and similar uneviscerated salt-cured fish have also occurred in North America; two outbreaks occurred among persons of Egyptian descent in New Jersey in 1992 and 2005. (Ganapathiraju PV, et al. Notes from the Field: Botulism Type E After Consumption of Salt-Cured Fish — New Jersey, 2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68:1008-1009. DOI: http//dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6844a3)