Lan Zhang

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2011


Ciguatera is the most common coral dwelling, fish associated poisoning and is endemic in most tropical and sub-tropical regions. Exposure to ciguatoxin, the toxin responsible for the human illness ciguatera, is increasing worldwide due to the expansion of the international fish trade and environmental changes. Ciguatoxin cannot be destroyed by cooking (heat) or freezing. The toxin is also fat-soluble and may change the normal sodium channel permeability, triggering a series of health issues, including gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular distress. Globally, there is a significant lack of awareness and misdiagnosis of ciguatera, which may become more evident as the global incidence of ciguatera fish poisoning rises. Miami-Dade County has the highest incidences of ciguatera in the United States due to its geographic location, seasonal character and demographic distribution. A detailed assessment of ciguatera cases in Miami-Dade County was conducted in this report using SAS system and incorporating 10 years of data (2000-2010) from the Miami-Dade County Health Department. In the summary, ciguatera fish poisoning has no bias in gender, and there is no obvious quantitative difference between the different age groups. Barracuda predominates the ciguatera fish poisoning in Miami Dade County, and Caribbean ciguatoxin mostly trigger the GI symptoms and Pacific ciguatoxin more likely trigger the neurological symptoms. Amount of the toxic fish that patients consumed may affect the symptoms, but there is no direct association between alcohol and symptoms.


Department: MBF

MPS Track: Oceans and Human Health

Location: Miami-Dade county, Health Department

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