Shropshire

Telford mum 'nearly died' after cleaning fish tank coral

Katie Stevenson and three daughters, Lacey, 11, Taleisha, seven, and Skyla, one Image copyright Cascade News
Image caption Katie Stevenson and her three daughters, Lacey, 11, Taleisha, seven, and Skyla, one had to be put in isolation

A woman said she thought she was going to die after she was poisoned while cleaning out her fish tank.

Katie Stevenson, 34, and her husband Mark were scrubbing coral in the tank at their home in Newport, Telford, when they began to feel ill.

Mrs Stevenson began "shivering, shaking and hallucinating" after the coral released deadly toxic fumes.

The couple and their three daughters had to be put in isolation and their home was sealed off for two days.

Mrs Stevenson was cleaning coral from an ornamental bridge on 30 July after the family's fish had died while they were on holiday.

"When you scrub it, because it's alive, it lets off toxins," she said.

After 10 minutes, the couple began coughing and within an hour Mrs Stevenson "started getting really bad shivers".

Paramedics were called and the family had to be put in isolation for 48 hours while their house was sealed off and deep cleaned.

Image copyright Cascade News
Image caption Mrs Stevenson had been cleaning coral from an ornamental bridge in the tank

Mrs Stevenson later learned she had been poisoned by palytoxin - a potentially lethal chemical released by coral when stressed.

"My kids could have died. We could have died. I've not slept properly since," she said.

"Nobody seems to know how dangerous coral can be and we only found out the hard way."

She criticised the lack of information she received when she bought the coral - admitting she was not told, and did not know, it was a living organism.

The family are now back at home but Mrs Stevenson is still unable to eat due to an inflamed stomach.

"It nearly killed us," she said. "I don't want people to go through what we went through."


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