Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi, reported on May 3 that five members of one family from Sverdlov village in Khatlon’s Shahritous district, including three children, have died and were buried at the village cemetery on May 3.

Local health workers say the cause of their deaths is unknown.  They reportedly say they are waiting for the results of examination from Dushanbe.   

People close to this family say they probably got botulism from home canning. 

Radio Ozodi reported that Muhayo Avazaliyeva and her sister Mijgona Avazaliyeva with three children were taken the Shahritous central hospital on the evening of May 2.   

Meanwhile, the Emergencies Committee under the Government of Tajikistan says nine people (all of them are members of two families) were poisoned by food products in Kholmatov village in Khatlon’s Shahritous district on May 2.  Five of them, including three children, died and were buried at the cemetery in Sverdlov village.     

Navrouz Jafarov, the head of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Safety Directorate at the Ministry of health and Social Protection of the Population (MoHSPP), neither denied nor confirmed the version that they had got botulism from home canning. 

“There can be a lot of preliminary diagnoses, but the investigating authorities are dealing with this case, and it turns out that they have the last word,” Jafarov said. 

At the same time, he confirmed that five of those nine people had died.  “Four others, some of whom are children, are under the scrutiny of doctors and all of them are on mend,” the health official added.    

It should be noted that cases of poisoning by canned products are not isolated in Tajikistan.   

Recall, members of one family in Neknot village, which is subordinate to the northern city of Panjakent, got botulism from home canning in late April.  Two children, 9 and 12 years old, died.  Their 52-year-old mother and 13-year-old brother were hospitalized in critical condition. The woman later died in hospital.