Legal Blog > Personal Injury Law > What to Do if You Have Ciguatera Poisoning

What to Do if You Have Ciguatera Poisoning

Ciguatera is an illness that only occurs after eating certain types of fish. Larger reef-dwelling fish are far more likely to be contaminated.

The contamination in the fish occurs because the fish consumes a toxin that is likely to be found in tropical and subtropical waters. It can either be consumed through the water directly or by eating a contaminated fish.

Discover Your Legal Options

If you or a loved one has contracted ciguatera, then you might actually have a legal claim against the fish preparer, shipper, or even the fisherman who caught the fish.

Check out how a Boca Raton personal injury attorney who has experience with Ciguatera and other types of food poisoning can help you to discover your legal options.

Symptoms and Problems with Ciguatera – Not Your Typical Case of Food Poisoning!

Ciguatera is more than just simple food poisoning, although it is often mistaken for “regular” food poisoning. The first symptoms that appear are the most similar to food poisoning, which include everyone’s favorites:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or cramping

But the fact is Ciguatera isn’t just your typical case of food poisoning. In addition to the above common symptoms, Ciguatera poisoning can also cause some strange neurological symptoms as well, such as:

  • Itchy skin
  • Aching teeth, joints, or muscles
  • Painful urination
  • Tingling in your extremities (feet, fingers, toes, etc.)
  • Feeling of loose teeth
  • Headache
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

One of the most telling symptoms of Ciguatera, however, is something called “temperature reversal”. This means that temperatures actually switch when you feel them—hot is cold and cold is hot. This is not only very confusing, it is often also dangerous.

More serious cases also involve:

  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Respiratory failure
  • Heart failure

These symptoms could take days, months, or even years to develop. However, like regular food poisoning, the gastrointestinal problems will usually appear within 24 hours of consuming the tainted fish.

Symptoms can also be triggered by certain foods such as caffeine, alcohol, or seafood. In some cases, patients are not allowed to eat certain foods ever again to avoid triggering further symptoms.

Visit this site to learn more about Ciguatera food poisoning in Florida.

Fish Carriers in Florida

Only certain fish will carry this toxic substance. It is often found in their organs and throughout their muscles. Ciguatera fish poisoning can originate from over 400 varieties of fish, many of which are common in Florida.

Some potential carriers found in Florida include:

  • Trevally
  • Seabass
  • Tuna
  • Amberjack
  • Mackerel
  • Hogfish
  • Grouper
  • Barracuda
  • Eel
  • Mahi-mahi

Florida is home to most of the United States’ ciguatera incidents. In fact, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County make up almost 10 percent of all Ciguatera occurrences.

There is no way to rid the fish of Ciguatera—not even freezing it or cooking it. That means that if the fish has Ciguatera, and a human (or another fish) consumes it, then that person will contract Ciguatera poisoning, even with proper fish preparation.

Find out if fish carriers are in your neighborhood in Florida.

Diagnosing and Treating Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Unfortunately, there is no test to determine whether a fish has Ciguatera poisoning, so it can be very difficult to avoid. Doctors are also not able to test for the toxin once it is in your body either; instead, you will just have to watch for some of the telltale symptoms listed above to confirm its presence.

There is also no specific treatment for Ciguatera poisoning. Your doctor must focus on treating your symptoms until scientists discover a better way to deal with Ciguatera poisoning.

It is important to seek medical attention right away if you think you have been subject to ciguatera fish poisoning. If you realize you have Ciguatera poisoning within the first few hours, then you may be to use activated charcoal to decontaminate your intestines.

Due to the gastric symptoms, loss of fluids may also be a serious problem in the first few hours or days.


Even though you cannot test for Ciguatera, there are often Florida fishing locations that are known to carry this toxin. Fishermen and buyers should steer clear of these areas. Failure to do so could result in serious legal implications.

If you or someone you love has been affected by ciguatera fish poisoning, visit here to work with an experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options today

Get The Office Direction

Related Items: