[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 18, 1980

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in Miami

Author Affiliations

From the Field Services Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Drs Lawrence and Lumish); and the Office of Disease Prevention for Disease Control Services, Dade County Department of Public Health, Florida State Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Miami (Drs Enriquez and Maceo). Dr Lawrence is now with the Immunology Division, Bureau of Laboratories, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta. Dr Lumish is now with the Division of Infectious Diseases, Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1980;244(3):254-258. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030030021

Ciguatoxic fish constitute a continuing foodborne disease problem in Miami. Information from 129 cases of ciguatera fish poisoning reported to the Dade County (Miami) Department of Public Health during 1974 to 1976 was used for epidemiologic study of the syndrome. The case definition required that both gastrointestinal and paresthetic neurological symptoms be experienced within 36 hours after eating fish. Grouper and snapper were the fish most frequently implicated. Neither methods of storage nor means of preparation seemed to affect fish toxicity. A predominantly late spring and summer seasonality was noted. The true annual incidence of this syndrome in Miami may be ten times the number reported to the health department, suggesting an average annual incidence of at least five cases per 10,000 resident population. Recent advances in ciguatoxin research may lead to much needed assays for toxin detection.

(JAMA 244:254-258, 1980)