Anyone in the US who has experienced marine fish poisoning, has most probably been exposed to Ciguatera Fish Poisioning (CPF), the most frequently reported seafood-toxin illness in the world. Although the CDC reported only 30 marine food toxins last year in America (with only some of those being CPF), this normally endemic tropical toxin has now shown up in three US states, due to fish being imported from around the world and, possibly, warming seas. The effects aren’t pretty, as NPR posted: “The molecules open little holes in nerves, triggering an array of crazy symptoms: reversal of how you experience temperature, vertigo and the sensation that your teeth are falling out.” Now some researchers are suspecting there might be a link between CPF and dyspareunia (painful intercourse). There have only been a few cases in the Bahamas where CPF was suspected to have been sexually transmitted, causing the dyspareunia. However, as dyspareunia isn’t something most people, globally, are comfortable discussing, there is concern that more CPF could be transmitted sexually and the cases simply aren’t being recorded. What to do to be on the safe side? Click here to read more of Michaeleen Doucleff’s artlcle on NPR: Sexually Transmitted Food Poisoning? A Fish Toxin Could Be To Blame.
Acanthurids Do Not Avoid Consuming Cultured Toxic Dinoflagellates yet Do Not Become Ciguatoxic
Abstract: Ocean surgeons Acanthurus bahianus and doctorfish A. chirurgus displayed no preference between food items containing toxic dinoflagellates associated with ciguatera poisoning and nontoxic food when given a choice for up to 42 consecutive days. Two clones of laboratorycultured dinoflagellates Gambierdiscus toxicus and one clone of Prorocentrum concavum were used in separate trials. Gambierdiscus toxicus clone SIU-350 was toxic to both fish species after 5–8 d at a daily ration of 2.5 mg of cells per food item. Clinical signs were similar to those previously reported for blueheads Thalassoma bifasciatum fed the same clone, Clinical signs became less pronounced with time, but recurred with equal intensity when the ration was doubled. No difference in food consumption between toxic and nontoxic food types was observed. Fish fed G. toxicus SIU-175, previously shown to be considerably more toxic to mice Mus sp. and brine shrimp Artemia sp. than to G. toxicus SIU-350, remained asymptomatic at daily rations as high as 7.5 mg of cells per food item. No signs of toxicity were observed in adult brine shrimp that consumed ground muscle and liver tissue from fish fed either G. toxicus clone, indicating that ciguatoxicity had not been induced. Results suggest that herbivorous fish may acclimate to, rather than avoid, macroalgae harboring epiphytic toxic dinoflagellates. Attempts to directly relate these findings to nature should be made cautiously because differences in toxic properties between cultured and wild dinoflagellate cells cannot be discounted.
1992 Magnelia, S.J., C. Kohler, and D. Tindall. Acanthurids Do Not Avoid Consuming Cultured Toxic Dinoflagellates yet Do Not Become Ciguatoxic. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 121(6): 737-745
Ciguatera Toxins Adversely Affect Piscivorous Fishes
Abstract: Four species of piscivorous fishes (coney Epinephelus fulvus; schoolmaster Lutjanus apodus; mahogany snapper L. mahogoni; and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides) displayed distinct behavioral abnormalities after consumption of a ciguatoxic great barracuda Sphyraena barracuda. Samples of the great barracuda were fed to experimental fishes as ether-soluble extracts or as ground flesh. Largemouth bass were also fed freeze-dried cells of the dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus toxicus in a separate experiment and displayed a similar response. Signs of intoxication included skin color variations, inactivity, loss of equilibrium, erratic swimming, jerky feeding movements, and loss of orientation.sbd.and death, in the case of largemouth bass fed 1.0 g or more of great barracuda flesh or 7.1 mg .cntdot. g-1 or more of great barracuda extract. These abnormalities usually were observed within 24 h after the feeding of toxic materials, and were apparent in some cases for as long as 76 d.
1988 Davin, W. T., C. Kohler, and D. Tindall. Ciguatera Toxins Adversely Affect Piscivorous Fishes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 117(4): 374-384
Effects of Ciguatera Toxins on the Bluehead Wrasse
Abstract: Distinct behavioral abnormalities were displayed by blueheads Thalassoma bifasciatum (wrasse: Labridae) after consumption of a dinoflagellate responsible for producing ciguatera toxins. The symptoms, including skin color variations, inactivity, loss of equilibrium, erratic swimming, jerky feeding movements, loss of orientation, and loss of net avoidance ability, appeared after oral treatments ranging from 0.26 to 4.88 mg˙g−1 of freeze-dried Gambierdiscus toxicus cells. Results suggest that the adverse effects of toxins on blueheads would increase their susceptibility to predation, subsequently increasing the rate of transference within the food chain.
1986 Davin, W. T., C. Kohler, and D. Tindall. Effects of Ciguatera Toxins on the Bluehead Wrasse. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 115(6):908-912.