Ciguatera in Florida
Ciguatera is a form of food poisoning from fish that can cause some pretty uncomfortable and severe nausea and vomiting. But while it just sounds another case of food poisoning or stomach bug, Ciguatera can lead to other very serious problems, such as neurological problems.
Estimates of the occurrence in Florida may have been grossly under-reported in recent years, so it is important to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of this disease.
It may be difficult to tell whether you are carrying the disease, and it is very commonly diagnosed as something other than Ciguatera poisoning. There is no cure for the disease, and there are no tests that would prove someone has the disease.
Other Symptoms of Ciguatera
If you have contracted Ciguatera, then you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Itchy skin
- Aching teeth, joints, or muscles
- Painful urination
- Tingling in the extremities
You may also suffer a range of temperatures where colder temperatures feel warm and vice versa. This symptom, called temperature reversal, is unique to Ciguatera poisoning.
In very serious cases, Ciguatera poisoning can cause partial or complete paralysis, respiratory failure, or heart failure.
The gastrointestinal symptoms will usually come before the other neurological symptoms. Signs will start appearing within 24 hours of consuming an infected fish. Some of the other symptoms could take a couple of days to present themselves. These symptoms can last for months or even years, and can be triggered by consuming other foods such as chicken, seafood, nuts, caffeine, or alcohol.
Transmission of Ciguatera in Florida
Ciguatera fish poisoning comes from potentially over 400 different species of fish. Fish that are potential carriers in Florida include:
Most carrier fish are found in warmer waters in tropical and subtropical areas. Palm Beach County alone contributes to roughly 5 percent of all Ciguatera incidents. Miami-Dade County contributes another 4 percent.
Usually, you must actually consume an infected fish to obtain the toxins yourself. Fish acquire this disease by eating algae called Gambierdiscus toxicus. Reef dwelling fish are much more prone to this disease than other types of fish. Generally, the larger the fish, the more likely it is a carrier of Ciguatera.
You will not be able to tell whether the fish you are eating is a carrier. The fish will likely look, taste, and smell normal. In fact, the Florida Health Department reports that most people who become infected will tell you that the fish they ate was delicious.
Avoiding and Treating the Dangers of Ciguatera in Florida
The best way to avoid a “ciguatoxic” fish is to know areas where previous incidents have occurred and refrain from consuming fish in that area. Eating smaller fish can also help you avoid getting this type of poisoning. Always purchase your fish from reputable seafood markets or restaurants.
It can be treated if you act quickly (within the first 24 hours), so take action immediately if you suspect that you may have Ciguatera poisoning. Call Florida Poison Control for more information at 1-800-222-1222.
Getting Legal Help from Boca Raton Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Ciguatera poisoning, then there may be a legal remedy. Restaurants, food markets, and other food distribution venues have an obligation to provide you with healthy and safe foods. Unlike most food poisoning cases, Ciguatera poisoning can have long-lasting effects that can completely alter your lifestyle, making your damages much more significant.
If your fish is infected with Ciguatera, then the individual or entity that provided you with the fish could be liable for any of your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages related to your illness.
Contact Glotzer & Kobren at 561-361-8677 to discuss your legal options. We will take the time to sit down with you and discuss your potential case during our free consultation process. There is no obligation to continue with the case or hire our firm after this consultation.
Very few South Florida personal injury firms understand Ciguatera poisoning claims, but Glotzer & Kobren has experience in this area. Call or use the form below to set up an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today.