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August 1979

Flushing Syndrome due to Mahimahi (Scombroid Fish) Poisoning

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Straub Clinic and Hospital Inc, Honolulu.

Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(8):963-965. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010080027016

Scombroid fish poisoning, one of the most common adverse reactions to fish, is also probably one of the most common causes of a flushing syndrome. The reaction usually involves fishes of the Scombridae family but, in Hawaii, the reaction is most often due to mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus). Onset of the reaction is usually abrupt and commonly associated with a prominent flush resembling a sunburn. Headache, tachycardia, and gastrointestinal symptoms are often present. The condition is due to a toxin with histamine-like properties, which is formed because improper refrigeration enables endogenous bacteria to decarboxylate histidine normally present in dark-meat fishes. Symptoms are usually promptly relieved by parenteral antihistamine therapy.

(Arch Dermatol 115:963-965, 1979)