Family poisoned by world's second-deadliest toxin from coral in fish tank may have died had they gone to sleep

Family poisoned by world's second-deadliest toxin from coral in fish tank may have died had they gone to sleep

A family of five almost died after inhaling toxic fumes released by coral in their fish tank.

Katie Stevenson, her husband Mark and their children aged 1-11 had to be rushed to the hospital while wearing protective masks last Tuesday. 

As they were cleaning out their fish tank, the coral started to release palytoxin which is the second most deadly toxin known to man.

They started to struggle to breathe and called 111.

Emergency services then cordoned off their home which is located in Newport, Shropshire.

Katie said, "My kids could have died. We could have died. I've not slept properly since. All sorts of things were going through my mind," reported Mirror

Katie added that, if the family had decided to go to sleep instead of calling for help when the symptoms started, they would have never woken up.

This is believed to be a very rare case and is one of the few recorded in UK.


The adults who first breathed in the toxins ended up spending one week in the hospital.

Katie's three girls were discharged the day after.

She explained that the family had gone on vacation and their fish had died which prompted them to get rid off their tank.

After emptying it, they began scrubbing it which resulted in the corals giving out toxins. 

"We left it an hour, and I started getting really bad shivers. My temperature went up to 42 Celsius. We called 111 and they sent an ambulance. It was terrifying. The paramedics who came to get me were wearing masks. The whole A&E was isolated. They told us if we'd gone to sleep, we wouldn't have woken up," she shared. 

Katie's mother, Tina, who arrived at the family' home said that she could "taste" the toxins.

She is helping to support the family as they recover.

"When I arrived at their home I could taste it. I could feel it in the back of my throat. My eyes were streaming. There’s a lot of people out there with marine fish tanks. My family could have all died," she shared.


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