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Wed, 24.07.24

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November 2008
S. Gweta et al.

Background: Due to extensive activity at sea, certain human populations, especially fishermen, are exposed to direct contact with the sea's inhabitants, including dangerous marine animals.

Objectives: To characterize and assess the extent of injuries caused by marine organisms along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, their type, severity and medical treatment given.

Methods: Data were obtained from a survey on injuries from marine organisms conducted among professional fishermen along the Mediterranean coast of Israel and from medical records reporting toxicological consultations provided by the Israel Poison Information Center.

Results: Injuries caused by marine organisms are not rare in Israel, but most cases are not severe. The most common injuries reported by fishermen were caused by stingrays (30%), weaver fish (22%), rabbit fish, (13%) and marine catfish (10%) – a new Red Sea immigrant. Most fishermen tend to treat such injuries themselves and sought medical help only when an unknown venomous fish was involved. Most cases of severe toxicity were due to secondary infection. Data from the IPIC[1] indicated that 64% of the calls were from the general public and the rest came from physicians in health care facilities. Four sources of injuries were identified: cleaning and preparing fish for consumption, during leisure water sport activities, handling marine aquaria, and fishing. Most cases from the IPIC were graded as minor severity (85%) and were treated symptomatically.
Conclusions: We recommend that medical facilities be installed at the fishing anchorages and that a separate category be established for injuries by marine organisms to facilitate epidemiological data collection from health care facilities







[1] IPIC = Israel Poison Information Center


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