What is Ciguatera Poisoning?

By. Nevanda - 06 Mar 2023


kelolalaut.com - Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) or known as Ciguatera, is a foodborne illness that caused by eating reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with certain type of toxins. Fish that contain this type of toxin is called by ciaguatoxic. The type of toxic that contaminated these fish are ciguatoxin and maitotoxin. They are originally come from small marine organism, Gambierdiscus toxicus, that grows and found around coral reef ecosystem in tropical and subtropical waters. This organism is a dinoflagellate that eaten by the herbivorous fish which in turn are eaten by larger carnivorous fish. These toxics become accumulated as they move up the food chain. The fish that often implicated include barracuda, grouper, moray eel, sea bass and sturgeon. 


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Other dinoflagelates that may contain this toxin is Prorocentrum spp., Ostreopsis spp., Coolia monotis, Thecadinium spp., dan Amphidinium carterae. The risk of death of this toxin is less than 1 in 1,000 according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control). It is the most frequent seafood poisoning. This occurs mostly in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  

The symptoms that appear may include diarrhea, vomiting, numbness, itchiness, sensitivity to hot and cold, dizziness and weakness. The onset symptoms may vary according to the amount of toxic that have been eaten from half an hour to up to two days. The diarrhea may last for four days. Some symptoms can remain until few weeks to months. It can also cause heart difficulties like slow heart rate and low blood pressure.  


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Preventive act that we can do is to avoiding reef fish, not eating fish liver, roe or fish heads. Ciguatoxin has no taste or smell and it cannot be destroyed using conventional cooking methods. There is no specific treatment for CFP if it is already happening. Mannitol is considered, but the evidence shows that it is not very strong. The mainstay of treatment is supportive care. Some medication like amitriptyline may reduce some symptoms such as fatigue and paresthesia, although the benefit does not occur in every case.


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