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Deadly pufferfish paralyses eleven family members

A pufferfish presented as a gift has left 11 members of the same family in a critical condition after they ate the deadly fish for dinner.

Smooth puffer fish

The Souza family, from Rio de Janerio, were given the fish by a family friend who caught it while fishing off the coast of Brazil.

Neither the family nor the fisherman realised the fish contained lethal poison, able to kill with just one drop.

The family, including young children, began to vomit immediately after biting into the fried fish, going on to lose feeling in their face and limbs.

Cristiane Souza told Brazil's RJ TV that watching her husband Jose Augusto, 41, being poisoned was "terrifying".

"My husband was the first to say he couldn't feel his tongue, then his face, and then his arms. Then his legs went dead and he couldn't stand up any more," she says.

"My brother-in-law was the same. He didn't even make it out the door. We had to carry them out and rush them to hospital in a car," she said.

Grandmother Maria do Carmo says she was about to try the fish but patiently let her family tuck in before her.

"They're all in a critical condition. My grandson, my daughter, and my son-in-law, they are all in hospital. We're praying for a miracle."

So far, a cure for the poison has not been discovered. Victims are hospitalised and their stomachs emptied before being fed activated charcoal to bind the toxin. They are also put on life support until the poison wears off.