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Symptoms and Signs of Clupeotoxin Poisoning

Doctor's Notes on Clupeotoxin Poisoning

Clupeotoxin poisoning is a potentially fatal poisoning that occurs after eating fish contaminated with the toxin. The poison does not break down when the fish is cooked and 50% of people poisoned by clupeotoxin will die after ingesting it. Clupeotoxin is found in plankton-eating fish, such as anchovies, herring, sardines, bonefish, slickheads, and tarpons. These types of fish are most found in African, Caribbean, and Indo-Pacific coastal waters and is more commonly found in fish caught in the summer.

Symptoms of clupeotoxin poisoning begin 30-60 minutes after eating contaminated fish and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, dry mouth, a metallic taste in the mouth, headache, sweats, chills, dizziness, elevated heart and respiratory rate, blue tinge to lips/fingers/nose/toes, lightheadedness, and a drop in blood pressure.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.