Chelonitoxism: new case reports in French Polynesia and review of the literature

Toxicon. 2007 May;49(6):827-32. doi: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2006.12.002. Epub 2006 Dec 19.


Eating the flesh of some marine turtles can cause a type of seafood poisoning called chelonitoxism. The purpose of this article is to report a new case of mass poisoning caused by consumption of sea turtle flesh in French Polynesia. The episode involved 19 members of the same family. Three persons required hospitalization after consuming two consecutive meals including turtle flesh. One 26-year-old woman who was pregnant at 14 weeks of amenorrhea lapsed into a coma and died due to multiorgan failure on the third day after the meal. This case confirms the potential severity of chelonitoxism as reported in several series in the literature showing high mortality rates. The causative toxins are currently unidentified. Further study is needed to better understand chelonitoxism.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergency Treatment
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Foodborne Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Foodborne Diseases / pathology
  • Foodborne Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marine Toxins / poisoning*
  • Polynesia
  • Turtles*


  • Marine Toxins