People can get ciguatera poisoning by eating normally safe, bottom-feeding, coral reef fish that have collected the poison from the food chain. Ciguatera poisoning tends to occur near areas of disturbed reef, including waterfront construction. Ciguatera poisoning is most common in Florida and Hawaii. Red snapper, barracuda, parrotfish, jacks, and grouper are most commonly contaminated, but over 400 normally safe fish species may contain the poison. There are no good "rules of thumb" for detecting tainted fish. They look, taste, and smell normal. Testing for ciguatera is available in some areas.
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