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Diseases & Topics


Ciguatera fish poisoning, or ciguatera, is an illness caused by eating ocean fish that contain toxins produced by naturally occurring microscopic marine algae called Gambierdiscus toxicus.

People who have ciguatera poisoning may experience nausea, vomiting and neurologic symptoms, such as tingling fingers or toes. They also may experience temperature reversal sensation, so that cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. Some fish commonly associated with ciguatera toxins include snapper, jacks, sea bass, grouper, triggerfish and barracuda. These large fish accumulate the toxins when they eat smaller fish that have been eating the toxic algae.

People who have ciguatera can be treated for their symptoms. However, ciguatera has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days or weeks but can last for years.

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