Toxic honey poisoning update
The 32-year-old English tourist in a satisfactory condition in Thames Hospital with suspected toxic honey poisoning is likely to be discharged tomorrow (Sunday).
Joseph Reynolds ate comb honey bought from the Coromandel area on Thursday morning and hours later started vomiting. He also had a seizure and was kept in Thames Hospital under observation.
He and his partner Vanessa Whittle, both of London, were holidaying at Onemana Bay, three kilometres off SH25 on the eastern Coromandel coast, with Vanessa's parents, sister Jo Whittle, 38, and her two children; when the family reunion turned into a nightmare.
Only three in the group ate the honey on bread sandwiches. Joseph Reynolds and Jo Whittle ate the honey on Thursday morning while Jo's three-year-old son Daniel had "a slither" of honey on a sandwich at about 8.30 on Thursday night.
Joseph was the first admitted to Thames Hospital - about the time Daniel was eating his sandwich - while Jo and Daniel were brought in by ambulance the next day. Daniel also had a seizure. They were treated and discharged.
Ms Whittle said she had never been so scared as when she saw first Joseph and then hours later her son Daniel suffering seizures.
"From my perspective it was very scary, very frightening."
A feature of Joseph's seizure was "an awful piercing cry" which was "absolutely terrifying," she said.
During her son's seizure, he went rigid, his eyes were dilated and Ms Whittle said she thought he was going to die.
"It's every parent's nightmare. We consider ourselves very lucky people."
It was only once they were all at Thames Hospital that they realised the common denominator was the honey.
Joseph, an IT support analyst in London, said he went public with what happened because he would hate to see it happen to anyone else.
The honey comb has been seized by health authorities and will be tested next week.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority and Waikato District Health Board today advised all consumers who bought comb honey from the Coromandel area in recent days not to eat the honey.
Any consumers who develop symptoms should contact a doctor immediately and notify them of any consumption of honey within the preceding hours.
Contact details for NZFSA:
Trish Pearce 029 894 2457
Sandra Daly 029 894 2503
Waikato District Health Board: Mary Anne Gill 021 705 213
Mary Anne Gill
Director of Media and Communications
Waikato District Health Board
P.O. Box 934
Ph: 07 834 3684
Fax: 07 834 3673
Mobile: 021 705 213