Jatropha (Tuba-Tuba) Downs 11 Kids in Antipolo

"Jatropha Podagrica" by Frank Vincentz - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

ANTIPOLO CITY, PHILIPPINES – Eleven children, aged six to 12, were hospitalized after eating the fruits of Jatropha, locally known as tuba-tuba in Antipolo Tuesday afternoon, authorities said today.

The children, all residents of San Jose in Antipolo City, feasted on the fruits of tuba-tuba but started vomiting minutes later. The children then complained of stomach pains.

Parents of the children said they did not know that tuba-tuba is poisonous until their children started showing signs of food poisoning. Seven of the children were rushed to the Rizal Provincial Hospital while the other four were brought to the Amang Rodriguez hospital in Marikina.

The patients are now in stable condition and recuperating inside the hospital.

Doctors said those who have eaten tuba-tuba fruits should not be given food or water and must be rushed to the hospital for immediate treatment.

Much like other members of the family Euphorbiaceae, members of the genus Jatropha contain several toxic compounds.

The seeds of Jatropha curcas contain the highly poisonous toxalbumin curcin, a lectin dimer. They also contain carcinogenic phorbol.

Despite this, the seeds are occasionally eaten after roasting, which reduces some of the toxicity.

Its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting as few as three untreated seeds can be fatal to humans.

In 2005 Western Australia banned Jatropha gossypiifolia as invasive and highly toxic to people and animals. – BusinessNewsAsia.com