19 September 2012

• Humans increasingly poisoned by reef fish

Australia: ”Sydney: Human beings are being poisoned by consumption of many reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with toxins, an Australian study says. The illness called ciguatera leads to painful and debilitating effects on our nervous system, stomach and heart lasting for months.

”A team of international marine scientists has reported a 60 percent increase in the incidence of cases of Ciguatera poisoning among people inhabiting Pacific Island nations.

”The ciguatera toxin may be found in large reef fish, most commonly barracuda, grouper, red snapper, eel, amberjack, sea bass, and Spanish mackerel….”

Source: ZeeNews.India.com

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says, “Ciguatera fish poisoning (or ciguatera) is an illness caused by eating fish that contain toxins produced by a marine microalgae called Gambierdiscus toxicus. People who have ciguatera may experience nausea, vomiting, and neurologic symptoms such as tingling fingers or toes. They also may find that cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. Ciguatera has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days or weeks but can last for years. People who have ciguatera can be treated for their symptoms.

”Barracuda, black grouper, blackfin snapper, cubera snapper, dog snapper, greater amberjack, hogfish, horse-eye jack, king mackerel, and yellowfin grouper have been known to carry ciguatoxins.”

Note that ciguatera is not limited to the Pacific area: “…2-10% of Ciguatera cases are actually reported in the United States. In the US Virgin Islands, there are an estimated 300 cases per 10,000 or 3% of the population per year; a similar rate is found in the French West Indies. In St. Thomas, a household survey estimated that 4.4% of all households suffered from Ciguatera annually (at least 2640 persons per year or an annual incidence of 600 cases per year); in Puerto Rico, 7% of the residents have experienced at least one episode of Ciguatera in their lifetime.” Source: whoi.edu

Note: Cooking does not destroy the toxin…it’s heat-resistant.

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