4 Dead, 9 Under Observation

Four people are dead and nine more are under observation at Somosomo Village in Gau. Cause of death is suspected to be fish poisoning after consuming Daniva. The four who
06 Jan 2017 10:55
4 Dead, 9 Under Observation
Pictures show men digging the graves of the four men who died from suspected food poisoning in Somosomo Village on Gau Island. Photo: Lusia Bavadra Yalidole

Four people are dead and nine more are under observation at Somosomo Village in Gau. Cause of death is suspected to be fish poisoning after consuming Daniva.

The four who lost their lives are Akariva Malamu, Sekove Vadei, Manasa Bulu and an Apolosi.

Gau Islander Joseva Tora, who resides in Suva, was shocked  to receive the news yesterday from the deceased’s relatives who had flocked to the island to attend the burial.

The 53-year-old grew up on the island and moved to Suva eight years ago.

According to Mr Tora, Apolosi had only visited the village to build a house.

“The Balolo season, in this type of month some of the fish is known to be poisonous. It is mostly the Saqa and Daniva fish.”

The fish is reported to be poisonous once it feeds on the Balolo.

“Yesterday morning, they found schools of daniva at the foreshore of the village. They took out the net and caught the fish and had it for lunch,” he said.

Despite the group’s knowledge of the balolo season, they had the fish for lunch.

“Even some of the left over fish they threw it for the dogs to eat and the dogs too are dead but they found out about the dogs after the four  were taken to hospital.”

The four were taken to Qarani Health Centre that is three km away from the village by a fibre glass boat.

When they had arrived at the doctor stationed at the Qarani hospital had accompanied a seriously ill child to Suva for specialist medical assistance.

There are nine more that are being treated in the village.

“It is still the festive season so a lot of them ate it,” said Mr Tora.

The Ministry of Fisheries has issued a halt on the sale of Daniva.

“We strongly urge the public not to eat this type of fish even if it is not the Balolo Season,” Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said.

Daniva fish is normally known as a dangerous and poisonous fish.

“Fish such as barracuda and dokonivudi also become poisonous after feeding on balolo.

“There has been a lot of reported poison cases about Barracuda and Dokonivudi is also found to be very dangerous,” Mr Koroilavesau said.

He said a lot of reports of deaths in the past have been commonly received mainly from Yasawa and Kadavu especially when medication was rare.

“It (Balolo) is delicacy. But when it melts in the sun, it creates a poisonous effect in the fish,” he explained.

It comes out of the reefs. Only a few places around Fiji produce this.

“I am not aware of those that are selling it on the streets but it should not be sold around this time,” he said.

“Traditionally, the villagers know around bololo season, Daniva is not to be consumed but I guess this is still overlooked by the people in Gau,” he said.

He said it takes six to 12 hours for the poison to spread all over a person’s body if it is consumed in large amounts..

No post-mortem was carried out on the four victims of suspected fish poisoning. This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun from Nawaikama Village in Gau by Joeli Bale, who led the grave diggers.

Mr Bale is a lay preacher at Gau Secondary School.

The four funerals took place yesterday and they went back to their village for the one week New Year church service by all members of the Methodist Church of Fiji.

This church service he said would end on Sunday.


Edited by Maraia Vula


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