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NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga (March 11, 1998 - PACNEWS/Tohi)---An increasing number of Tongans residing in the capital of Nuku'alofa, fearing fish poisoning, are reluctant to buy near-shore sea products.

Local fishermen say there has been a significant drop in the sale of their catches because many people are concerned by recent deaths believed to be related to eating contaminated fish, Radio Tonga reports.

The death of a 20-year old female student at The Teachers Training College was reported widely as a "victim of fish poisoning." The deceased ate eggs from a 'Thumbling Emperor," which is not classified among Tonga's known poisonous fish.

A middle aged woman died recently in a similar incident.

Both women were asthmatic patients.

Tonga’s health authorities have concluded that the two women suffered similar, severe allergies and their bodies reacted adversely to certain antigens or foreign protein in the fish they ate, causing their deaths.

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