The Ministry of Health is alerting the public that suspected Ciguatera poisoning was detected in ten persons that had eaten fish bought from a fish vendor at the Conch Shell Bay Fish Market on Vernon Street Fish in Belize City. Further investigation into these cases have linked and identified the fish poisoning with the consumption of Barracuda. Consumers are warned that the toxin does not affect the appearance, odor or taste of the fish and that freezing or cooking the contaminated fish will not prevent the poisoning. Anyone who consumes fish contaminated with the ciguatera toxin will become ill. Love News spoke to John Bodden, the Principal Public Health Inspector for the Ministry of Health who says 10 cases of ciguatera poisoning have been identified.
John Boden Principal Public Health Inspector: “We know that the source of the toxin is the Barracuda and it is associated with fish purchased at the Vernon St. Fish market and the current number of persons who have received treatment is ten but key to the whole thing is that the toxin does not change the appearance or the taste of the fish so that would not be an indicator that something is wrong with the fish it is until you start eating the fish that you would start having side effects general tingling, numbness in the fingers, toes, around the tongue, mouth, throat and having nausea vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramp, joint pains ,headaches and difficulty in breathing and in each individual. The appearance would be a little different and we don’t normally get everything but primarily we get many of the different signs and symptoms experienced by the individual in fact today we spoke two of the individuals who were part of the first ones that were poisoned by the fish itself and they are saying that now it’s two weeks because 18th of September to now is like two weeks and there is still experiencing the side effects of the poisoning so it is imperative that people be very very careful and if we were consuming that sort of fish then we have to be extremely careful that it can be a threat to our health so our recommendation would be to avoid eating those fish that considered to be carriers of the toxin.”
To prevent ciguatera poisoning, consumers can avoid eating the head, roe or fish egg, liver or other organs of the fishes as it is where the highest level of toxin is present. If you suspect fish poisoning in any individual, please contact the local Public Health Officer so necessary action can be taken to prevent it.