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Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 86
August 20, 2012 2:59 am  

What is the poisoning that you can get from eatting some local fish around Stt? Is it just food poisoning? I remember someone telling us it comes from the fish eatting off the coral? Pretty sure my b/f has gotten food poisoning and just trying to figure out what gave it to him. Since we eat the same stuff usually it should be easy to figure out but I know two different things in the past 24 hours that he ate. Do restaurants around here want to be notified if we think we know we got it from there dinner? I only think of telling the restaurant because our the previous meal we had there I was served rancid chicken - maybe they have rotation issues or poor refrigeration?? It's our favorite restaurant 🙁

Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 2290
August 20, 2012 3:55 am  

Red tide or dinoflaggelates can cause humans to become VERY ill. I think, however the likelihood that it was a sick fish vs. poor cooking conditions is very unlikely. I would definitely tell the restaurants you ate at. Don't accuse but inform.

Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
August 20, 2012 9:50 am  

What is the poisoning that you can get from eatting some local fish around Stt?

You're probably thinking of ciguatera.

Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2259
August 20, 2012 1:19 pm  

Ciguatera is a strange thing to figure out. So many times I heard of more than one person eating the fish and only one getting sick. Certain fish may carry the toxin moreso that others, but they all get the blame.

Shortly after I had it, (got mine from a huge Ole Wife which they say seldom poisons) we had a specialist from the USDA, that comes to St Thomas very year to study the subject, speak at Rotary. He talked about the toxin. We learned it's not the necessarily the fish that gets you sick but the toxin. The toxin stores up in your body and when it reaches that level that's too much for your body to hold, you get sick. It then takes about 6 months for it to leave your body, so it's recommended that you not eat any kind of fish, no matter where they come from, as to not trigger it again. If you eat fish regularly, like more than once a week, it is likely you will get it after a peoiod of time. I have not eaten the quanties of fish I used to then and have not gotten it since. You really can't blame the restaurant for this. The chicken, yes though!

Interesting info he shared was that they usually catch about 400 pounds of fish from all areas around the island and take it back to the labs to test to see if they can develop an antidote of some sort, however the toxin is so small they can hardly find enough to put on a slide to look at under the microscope!

It takes a few days to pass, keep hydrating.

Advanced Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 63
August 20, 2012 2:08 pm  

Ciguatera cannot be detoxified by conventional cooking of the contaminated fish. Mostly reef fish, however big fish eat the little fish and guess who eats the big fish.:-(

Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 12289
August 20, 2012 7:02 pm  

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.
Basic Facts Fish Identification [opens in new window]
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.
Questions and Answers [external link]
World Health Organization website with answers to questions about Ciguatera fish poisoning; what it is, how to diagnose, what to do about it, how to prevent it.

Ciguatera poisoning is the most common nonbacterial, fish-borne poisoning in the United States. It is caused by consumption of reef fish that feed on certain dinoflagellates (ie, algae) associated with coral reef systems. At least 5 types of ciguatoxin have been identified and are noted to accumulate in larger and older fish higher up the food chain.

Ciguatera poisoning has been a significant concern in tropical areas for centuries and generally is believed to be confined to coral reef fish in water between the latitudes of 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south. One study of the impact of climate changes on ciguatera producing organisms has suggested that elevations of sea surface temperatures may expand the band of concern above and below the 35th degree parallels.[1] Ironically, it also suggested that some areas may become too warm for the dinoflagellates to flourish. But, in the modern era of world travel and rapid transportation, many warm-water fish are available commercially in markets throughout the world, and cases of ciguatera poisoning may be seen in any location.

For related fish-borne poisoning articles, see Toxicity, Scombroid, Toxicity, Shellfish, and Toxicity, Seafood

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