Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Bianca Raikhlin-Eisenkraft, PhD and Yedidia Bentur, MD, published in IMAJ.
IMAJ 2002; 4; January; 28-30
Background: Ciguatera poisoning is the commonest fish-borne seafood intoxication. It is endemic to warm water tropical areas and is caused by consumption of bottom-dwelling shore reef fish, mostly during spring and summer. The causative agent, ciguatoxin, is a heat-stable ester complex that becomes concentrated in fish feeding on toxic dinoflagellates. The common clinical manifestations are a combination of gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms. Severe poisoning may be associated with seizures and respiratory paralysis.
Objective: To describe a series of patients who sustained ciguatera poisoning from an uncommon region and an unexpected source.
Patients: Two families complained of a sensation of “electrical currents,” tremors, muscle cramps, nightmares, hallucinations, agitation, anxiety and nausea of varying severity several hours after consuming rabbitfish (“aras”). These symptoms lasted between 12 and 30 hours and resolved completely. The temporal relationship to a summer fish meal, the typical clinical manifestations along with the known feeding pattern of the rabbitfish suggested ciguatera poisoning.
Conclusions: The Eastern Mediterranean basin is an unusual region and the rabbitfish an unusual source for ciguatera poisoning. There are no readily available and reliable means for detecting ciguatoxin in humans. A high index of suspicion is needed for diagnosis and a thorough differential diagnosis is essential to eliminate other poisonings, decompression sickness and encephalitis. Supportive therapy is the mainstay of treatment.