Facts on Clupeotoxin Poisoning
- Clupeotoxin poisoning occurs in humans who eat fish contaminated with the toxin.
- This toxin (poison) occurs in plankton-eating fish, such as
- tarpons, and
- These fish are found in African, Caribbean, and Indo-Pacific coastal waters.
- Clupeotoxin is more commonly found in fish caught in the summer.
- The toxin is concentrated in fish organs and is tasteless and odorless.
- The identity of the toxin is unknown.
- Toxicity does not depend on fish freshness or size.
- The poison does not break down when the fish is cooked.
Clupeotoxin Poisoning Symptoms
- Symptoms of clupeotoxin poisoning begin 30-60 minutes after eating contaminated fish.
- The poisoned person may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dry mouth, a metallic taste, headache, sweats, chills, dizziness, and elevated heart and respiratory rate.
- The lips, fingers, nose, and toes may become blue tinged.
- The poisoned person may become very lightheaded, and the person’s blood pressure may drop.
- Death occurs in about 50% of people poisoned by clupeotoxin.
Clupeotoxin Poisoning Treatment
- Vomiting should be induced if the poisoned person is awake and alert and has eaten the fish within the last 3 hours.
- Maintain hydration. Intravenous fluids may be necessary for uncontrollable nausea and vomiting.
- No specific antidote is available.
When to Seek Medical Care for Clupeotoxin
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine
"Ichthyosarcotoxism: poisoning by edible fish"
JAccid Emerg Med 1997;14:246-251
Iain C Grant
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/19/2016
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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