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Articles  |   March 1995
Ciguatera: current concepts
Article Information
Articles   |   March 1995
Ciguatera: current concepts
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 1995, Vol. 95, 193. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1995.95.3.193
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 1995, Vol. 95, 193. doi:10.7556/jaoa.1995.95.3.193
Abstract

Ciguatera poisoning develops after ingestion of certain coral reef-associated fish. With travel to and from the tropics and importation of tropical food fish increasing, ciguatera has begun to appear in temperate countries with more frequency. The causative agents are certain varieties of the protozoan dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus, but bacteria associated with these protozoa may have a role in toxin elaboration. A specific "ciguatoxin" seems to cause the symptoms, but toxicosis may also be a result of a family of toxins. Toxicosis develops from 10 minutes to 30 hours after ingestion of poisoned fish, and the syndrome can include gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms, as well as chills, sweating, pruritus, bradycardia, tachycardia, and long-lasting weakness and fatigue. More severe features are rare. In this review, the pathophysiologic features and symptoms of ciguatera are reviewed and compared with those of other seafood-related syndromes. Although no definitive therapy is known, the most promising treatment for ciguatera is intravenous administration of mannitol. Physicians should warn patients who are traveling to endemic areas about this toxicosis.