Clinical features of ciguatera fish poisoning: a study of the disease in the US Virgin Islands

Arch Intern Med. 1982 Jun;142(6):1090-2.


Clinical data were obtained on 33 patients involved in 27 episodes of ciguatera fish poisoning occurring during a 14-week period on St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. All patients had gastrointestinal tract symptoms, with 30 patients (91%) complaining of diarrhea and 23 patients (70%) complaining of vomiting; these symptoms occurred early in the disease and were of short duration. Twenty-three patients (70%) complained of malaise, and 19 patients (58%) had pain and weakness in the lower extremities. Dysesthesias were noted by 19 patients (58%); the median duration of dysesthesias was two weeks or more, with symptoms present is some cases for more than two months. Cardiovascular signs and symptoms, including both hypotension and bradycardia were noted in some acute cases. Therapy included antidiarrheal and antiemetic agents, intravenous fluids, atropine, and pralidoxime chloride. Efficacy of pralidoxime therapy could not be established on the basis of our data.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ciguatoxins*
  • Diarrhea / diagnosis
  • Dinoflagellida
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Foodborne Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Marine Toxins*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Manifestations
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • Vomiting / diagnosis


  • Marine Toxins
  • Ciguatoxins