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Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific Islands (1998 to 2008)
Skinner, M.P.; Brewer, T.D.; Johnstone, R.; Fleming, L.E.; Lewis, R.J. (2011). Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific Islands (1998 to 2008). PLoS Neglect. Trop. Dis. 5(12): 7 pp.
In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1935-2727, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Skinner, M.P.
  • Brewer, T.D.
  • Johnstone, R.
  • Fleming, L.E., more
  • Lewis, R.J.

    Ciguatera fish poisoning occurs throughout the tropics. After consuming contaminated coral reef fish, people report a range of acute neurologic, gastrointestinal, and cardiac symptoms, with some experiencing chronic neurologic symptoms lasting weeks to months. Ciguatera is largely caused by toxins from benthic microalgae of the genera Gambierdiscus that are bioaccumulated in reef fish through the marine food chain. Unfortunately, the true extent of illness and its impact on human communities and ecosystems are still not well understood. Using data gathered from Health and Fisheries Authorities of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories we identified a 60% increase in the annual incidence of ciguatera from 1988–2008 to 1973–1983 and estimate over 500,000 Pacific islanders might have suffered from ciguatera in their lifetime. The incidence of ciguatera is expected to continue to rise in conjunction with continued reef degradation and global warming, with greatest impact likely to be experienced in the developing PICTs and potentially the archipelagoes of southeast Asia. Despite this threat, little funding is available for research that might lead to better management of the problem either locally, regionally or globally.

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