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Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1987 Sep;1(3):665-76.

Intoxications from the seas: ciguatera, scombroid, and paralytic shellfish poisoning.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska.


Sporadic cases and outbreaks of intoxications borne by fish and shellfish have increased in frequency during recent years. Ciguatera, scombroid, and paralytic shellfish poisoning account for nearly 16 per cent of all reported foodborne outbreaks of disease in the United States. Fishborne ciguatera and paralytic shellfish poisoning are characterized by gastrointestinal and neuromuscular manifestations attributable to toxins of dinoflagellates. These toxins impair sodium transport in cell membranes. Treatment is primarily supportive. Scombroid fish intoxication resembles histamine poisoning and may be treated effectively with antihistamines or cimetidine. Prevention of these intoxications at present depends upon avoidance of potential vectors.

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