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What is Ciguatera Fish Poisoning?

Of the many known seafood illnesses, Ciguatera Fish Poisoning is the most reported among travelers and occurs when people ingest ciguatoxins. All kinds of reef fish produce the toxin, the following species are most susceptible: red snapper, barracuda, moray eel, parrotfish, grouper, hogfish, kingfish, amberjack, sea bass, sturgeon fish, and coral trout.

Ciguatera fish poisoning is prevalent in subtropical and tropical regions, especially in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Contaminated fish harbor the toxins in the intestines, liver, roe, and head. Ciguatoxins remain even if fish is preserved by salting, freezing, or smoking. Storms are most likely to trigger an outbreak of Ciguatera fish poisoning. 

Symptoms

Symptoms usually occur within 1-3 hrs following ingestion and include nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Neurological problems may follow within 3 - 72 hrs and are characterized by metallic taste, blurred vision, feeling of loss of teeth, tingling sensation, temperature reversal, and temporary loss of vision. Symptoms may resolve within days or persist for weeks. Chronically ill individuals may experience depression, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. 

Treatment

A physician will exam symptoms and guide the best course of treatment. Intravenous mannitol may be administered to address neurological problems. No vaccine is available. Test kits are expensive and not 100% reliable.

Prevention

To reduce your risk of Ciguatera fish poisoning, avoid reef fish weighing 6 lbs and above and don’t consume the intestines, roe, liver, and heads of smaller ones.  

Recent Interesting Reports

KFC, Mississippi 16, Carthage, MS, USA

Symptoms: Nausea Other
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January 31, 2021 10:38 AM

“My mother in law purchase some chicken along with sides while she was in town yesterday. She offered me and her son some. While he declined I opt for a piece of chicken because who doesn’t love chicken lol. When I got the chicken I noticed it was wet looking and didn’t have that signature crispiness... See Morethat they in our town usually have. My daughter(year old) asked for some and I had to tell her no because it didn’t look right nor did it taste good. The chicken was bland, it has gummy like textured & above all else the chicken appeared to be undercooked. I immediately began to get sick in my stomach at the thought of eating undercooked chicken because I breastfeed. My fiancé broken up the chicken & noticed that it was in fact undercooked. See Less
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“I'm the only one who drinks it, so the only one who gets sick. Symptoms appeared 30 minutes later. I felt the belly was working. Then I had severe diarrhea. I couldn't hold myself back. I didn't know it was that drink. And today it started again and what confirmed that it was this drink that made me... See Moresick. See Less
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- Birchw... See Moreood Beef and Pork Mince (23% Fat). 750g. Use by: 01 March 2021.

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Safeway, Market Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

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February 16, 2021 5:55 AM

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Hy-Vee, U.S. 40, Blue Springs, MO, USA

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February 11, 2021 2:49 PM

“Jimmy Dean bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Within 8 hours. Have only left house to pick up groceries outside with 2 well-sealed masks 95+cloth, gloves, & face shield. Clorox wiping all groceries, and touch surfaces, mail/packages quarantine for a week-not in house airflow/vents (then open with mask... See More& gloves) Housemate same PPE & COVID precautions. Replace UV-C light in A-coil yearly, + 2 400 degree air cleaners. No public inside activity in months, and that was for yearly wellness exam. Know it was Jimmy Dean.
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