Affected fish cannot be distinguished by inspection, smell
or taste, and cooking does not neutralize the toxin. Commercial
tests to screen for ciguatera are being developed.
best way to avoid during outbreaks is to avoid eating large
predatory - type reef dwelling fish that are more likely to
bio-accumulate the toxin.
toxin is more concentrated in the head, liver, and gut of
Examples of some commonly affected species include: red snapper,
grouper, barracuda, coral trout, cod and amberjack.
usually occur after 1-6 hours (but have been up to 30 hours)
people are mildly affected with gastrointestinal symptoms
(diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain) but neurological
also occur (muscle aches, weakness, blurry vision and burning).
poisoning also has particularly bizarre symptoms in that some
will report a reversal of hot and cold sensations. Symptoms
usually last less than 2 weeks.
Diagnosis is based on history.
involve antihistamines and sometimes administering mannitol
(a medication that can be useful as a partial antidote).
Ciguatera Poisoning Information
Public Health Agency
and Mortality Weekly Report Centers for Disease Control and
Center for Disease Control CDC http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/
Divers Alert Network http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/travel/seafood.asp