Pufferfish Poisoning Facts
- The poison found in pufferfish, blowfish, balloon fish, toads, sunfish, porcupine fish, toadfish, globefish, and swellfish is a tetrodotoxin.
- This is one of the most toxic poisons found in nature.
- Most people who eat pufferfish do so intentionally as pufferfish are considered an Asian delicacy, served in some types of sushi and sashimi.
- Unless the chef is specially trained to cut the meat in a particular fashion, however, the dish may contain a large amount of the toxin. Pufferfish poisoning is similar to paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Pufferfish Poisoning Symptoms
- Symptoms generally occur 10-45 minutes after eating the pufferfish poison and begin with numbness and tingling around the mouth, salivation, nausea, and vomiting.
- Symptoms may progress to paralysis, loss of consciousness, and respiratory failure, and can lead to death.
Pufferfish Poisoning Treatment
- Vomiting should be induced if the poisoned person is awake and alert and has eaten the fish within 3 hours.
- The person may become paralyzed. Artificial respirations may keep the person alive until medical attention in a hospital's emergency department is possible.
- Rapidly turn the person onto his or her side if vomiting occurs.
When to Seek Medical Care
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.