Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Ciguatera Overview

What is ciguatera?
A person with ciguatera has a type of food poisoning that occurs after eating tropical fish. The fish meat contains toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and numbness and tingling. Poisoning is more common when algae are blooming in warm water, during a red tide. Common tropical fish that cause ciguatera poisoning include: sea bass, grouper, amberjack, eel, barracuda, Spanish mackerel, and snapper.

What are the symptoms of ciguatera?
Symptoms of ciguatera poisoning usually start within a few hours after eating the fish. Early symptoms of ciguatera poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include numbness and tingling around the mouth they may spread to the limbs. Symptoms of dehydration are common.

How does the doctor treat ciguatera?
Treatment for ciguatera may include oral fluids, intravenous fluids, clear liquid diet, and medications to control vomiting and diarrhea.

Continue to Ciguatera Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 10, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Ciguatera References
  1. Farstad DJ, Chow T. A brief case report and review of ciguatera poisoning. Wilderness Environ Med. 2001 Winter;12(4):263-9. [11769923]
  2. Isbister GK, Kiernan MC. Neurotoxic marine poisoning. Lancet Neurol. 2005 Apr;4(4):219-28. [1577810]
  3. Lewis RJ. The changing face of ciguatera. Toxicon. 2001 Jan;39(1):97-106. [10936626]
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