Tropical fish - Pictures of Grouper

Ciguatera Toxin (Fish Poisoning) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis

Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (Toxin) Definition

is a foodborn illness (food ) caused by eating fish that is contaminated by ciguatera toxin. Ciguatera toxin is a heat-stable lipid soluble compound, produced by dinoflagellates and concentrated in fish organs, that can cause nausea, pain, cardiac, and neurological symptoms in humans when ingested. The toxin may be found concentrated in large reef fish, most commonly barracuda, grouper, red snapper, eel, amberjack, sea bass, and Spanish mackerel. These fish live in coral reef waters and accumulate the toxin when they eat smaller reef fish which feed on the dinoflagellates. The area of concern include the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, and coastal Central America. With fish from ciguatera endemic areas being shipped nationwide, poisonings can potentially occur in any areas in the United States.

Ciguatera toxin tends to accumulate in large predator fish (weight over 2 Kg or about 4.5 lbs), such as the barracuda and other carnivorous reef fish, because they eat other fish that consume toxin-producing algae (dinoflagellates), which live in coral reef waters. The toxin has highest concentrations in fish visceral and sex organs.

Ciguatera toxin is harmless to fish, but poisonous to humans. The toxin is odorless and tasteless, and cooking does not destroy the toxin. Eating ciguatera-contaminated tropical or subtropical fish is the main way that humans are exposed to the toxin. The toxin activates voltage-dependent sodium channels causing symptoms in human (and other mammals) gastrointestinal, cardiac, and nerve tissues. There are about 50, 000 reported poisonings worldwide per year, but rarely cause death; children have more severe symptoms (see below).


Just wanted to say that I enjoy all your posts

by 3DayEventer

Reading celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure... lol.
Are you guys (who post pictures) the photographers, or do you find them on other sites to post here?
Saw Sinbad today, at a tropical fish store in Chatsworth. He'll be back there on Saturday to drop off his 9ft boa that they are going to sell for him. Couldn't figure out why he looked so familiar, so I said "You look so familiar..." and he replied that it's because he's always in the store. Then someone called his name from the back of the store and he laughed and said "Or maybe you've seen me somewhere else" Ha! I felt like an idiot, but at least I wasn't gushing at him or something equally annoying; we just talked snakes & reptiles while they finished my sale & his paperwork about the snake

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