3 members of NZ family stricken with botulism from wild boar: 1 has begun to ‘mouth words’

The oldest member of a South Waikato family struck down by suspected botulism poisoning has begun to mouth words, a spokesman says.

Shibu Kochummen, 35, his wife Subi Babu, 33, and his mother Alekutty Daniel, 62, ate a wild boar curry for dinner two weeks ago at their Putaruru home.

Within minutes of eating, Babu and Daniel collapsed, vomiting. Kochummen called an ambulance but collapsed while on the phone.

The trio have been in a serious but stable condition in Waikato Hospital for the past two weeks and at the weekend Daniel became “slightly responsive”, having co-ordinated eye movement and the ability to focus.

“No one has spoken but we are beginning to get focus on movement,” family spokesman Joji Varghese earlier told Belinda Feek of the New Zealand Herald.

He confirmed today that Daniel was now beginning to mouth words but she wasn’t yet talking.

Subi Babu was also making progress but not as much as her mother-in-law.

Shibu Kochummen has yet to respond.

Varghese said doctors did not know if Daniel’s ability to follow an object with her eyes meant she was comprehending yet and they were still awaiting results of tests being conducted in Brisbane to definitively diagnose botulism.

  • KerstinB

    The only thing we can be sure of, is that it’s not because of botulism from wild boar! Maybe they also have eaten something else, but the symptoms point something else than botulism

    • Kathy

      Did you see this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjMCSjs8ICw
      Since this interview came out (in fact on the same day) the District Health Board announced that the botulism tests were negative. The symptoms aligned quite closely with 1080 poisoning but the hospital chose not to test for this in the early days because they believed the family would have needed to eat a bowl full of it to produce these symptoms. Not everyone agrees with that decision. I don’t understand why they would have thought it was botulism in the first place when the symptoms didn’t fully align.