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Ciguatera Fish Poisoning Cases Stem From Ulua Off NW Big Island Coast

April 19, 2018, 3:26 PM HST
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The Hawai‘i Department of Health recently identified several cases of ciguatera fish poisoning from ingestion of the giant trevally (ulua) recreationally caught off the northwest coast of Hawai‘i Island.

Ciguatera fish poisoning is caused by a toxin called ciguatoxin. This poison is found in marine algae, seaweed or coral. Fish become infected after consuming algae or seaweed. Lager predator fish become carriers by eating smaller fish.

Symptoms usually begin within a few minutes to six hours after ingesting an infested tropical reef fish. Symptoms can include vomiting, itching, dizziness, burning sensation around the mouth hands or feet, and reversal of temperature sensations.

The toxin is not destroyed by freezing of heating the fish. The fish implicated since 2016 have been: uku (green jobfish), kole (surgeon fish), Hawaiian sea bass, Hawaiian black triggerfish, ulua (giant trevally, eel, barracuda and amberjack.

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