Ciguatera

I have been consuming raw fish for 30 years and I am still standing. The first time I tried it, my late Mom warned me, be careful. In Japan I eat sushi less since the tsunami to avoid contamination of another kind. But as a frequent raw fish consumer, I always warn friends about the pitfalls of consuming raw fish. Consequently I added this post and a prior post to help understand the dangers. The consumption of fish is not without danger.

In Miami five years ago, I heard a story from a restaurant owner about his episode of poisoning a customer. The diagnosis was Ciguatera and after a year of lawyers and the prognosis of paying one-million in damages, it was settled out of court.

In humans Ciguatera causes gastrointestinal and neurological effects. Doctors are often at a loss to explain symptoms and Ciguatera poisoning is frequently misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis. Infected people, especially in the Caribbean, suffer for weeks to months with debilitating neurological symptoms, including profound weakness, temperature sensation changes, pain, and numbness in the extremities.

In Europe and in America the law forbids you to serve raw fish without freezing temperatures. But this has a limited effect on killing these toxins. It is not a bacteria per say, it is a toxin, so if when you eat it, it all depends on what level of poisoning is distributed into your digestive and nervous systems.

Ciguatera should be a consideration for people traveling to Caribbean areas. Based on seafood origins, primary areas of occurrence for the United States are Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico where fish from tropical sources are consumed.The common boundaries referenced are for tropical reef waters between latitudes 35° south and north.

Just understand the consequences before trying raw fish!

Categories: Life Cycles