Ciguatera Poisoning - Experience

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What is ciguatera poisoning?

Ciguatera is a type of food poisoning. The ciguatera toxin may be found in large reef fish, most commonly barracuda, grouper, red snapper, eel, amberjack, sea bass, and Spanish mackerel. These fish live in coral reef waters between latitudes of 35 degrees south to 35 degrees north, corresponding to the area located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These geographic lines ring the earth north and south of the equator and make up the tropics. These areas include the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, and coastal Central America.

Ciguatera toxin tends to accumulate in predator fish, such as the barracuda and other carnivorous reef fish, because they eat other fish that consume toxin-producing algae (dinoflagellates) that live in coral reef waters.

Ciguatera toxin is harmless to fish but poisonous to humans. The toxin is odorless and tasteless, and it is heat-resistant, so cooking does not destroy the toxin. Eating ciguatera-contaminated tropical or subtropical fish poisons the person who eats it.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: P.H., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 05

My sister and I ate amberjack on August 15. Gastrointestinal symptoms of ciguatera poisoning abated within 24 to 36 hours but the other symptoms continue. My sister saw her doctor. We've been taking Vistaril and seizure medication. I have just been taking ibuprofen and antihistamines. We still seem to be in the same place with symptoms. The medications her doctor prescribed make her extremely drowsy. We have already eliminated nuts, oils, alcohol, fish, beans, and seeds from our diet.

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Comment from: Tiff, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 19

My family recently feasted on a king mackerel caught during a fishing expedition 5 miles off the creek in the US Virgin Islands and subsequently we all have ciguatera. None of us required hospitalization, in fact, we didn't even know what it was until we returned from our trip. It has taken 8 days for symptoms (hot/cold reversal, oral tingling, itching, fatigue, and joint pain) to decrease or in some cases disappear. I have been very worried as the information out there can be quite scary. So far so good.

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