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Diseases » Ciguatera poisoning » Wikipedia

Ciguatera poisoning in Wikipedia

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ciguatera". (Source - Retrieved 2006-09-07 14:22:59 from


Ciguatera is a foodborne illness poisoning in humans caused by eating marine species whose flesh is contaminated with a toxin known as ciguatoxin, which is present in many micro-organisms (particularly, the micro-algae Gambierdiscus toxicus) living in tropical waters. Like many naturally and artificially occurring toxins, ciguatoxin bioaccumulates, resulting in higher concentrations of the toxin at higher levels of the food chain. Predator species near the top of the food chain in tropical waters, such as barracuda, moray eel, and amberjack, are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning, although many other species have been found to cause occasional outbreaks of ciguatera. Ciguatoxin is very heat-resistant, so ciguatoxin-laden fish cannot be detoxified by cooking.

Due to the localized nature of the ciguatoxin-producing micro-organisms, ciguatera illness is only common in tropical waters, particularly the Caribbean, and usually is associated with fish caught in tropical reef waters.

The symptoms of ciguatera are gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting) followed by neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, numbness, and hallucinations. Severe cases of ciguatera can also result in hot-cold reversal, in which hot and cold sensations seem reversed.

See also


  • Ciguatera fish poisoning CDC
  • Ciguatera fish poisoning—Florida, 1991. MMWR June 4, 1993;42(21):417-8
  • Ciguatera fish poisoning—Texas, 1997. MMWR August 28, 1998;47(33):692-4
  • Epidemiologic notes and reports ciguatera fish poisoning—Bahamas, Miami. MMWR July 23, 1982;31(28):391-2
  • Epidemiologic notes and reports ciguatera fish poisoning—Vermont. MMWR April 25, 1986;35(16):263-4
  • Awake! (magazine), July 2006, pages 19-21

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