[Skip to Navigation]
August 1989

Scombroid Fish Poisoning—Illinois, South Carolina

Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(8):1041-1042. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670200017001

Scombroid fish poisoning is an acute syndrome resulting from consumption of fish containing high levels of histamine. This report summarizes investigations of two outbreaks of scombroid fish poisoning in Illinois and South Carolina in 1988.

Illinois.  On February 26, 1988, eight cases of scombroid fish poisoning occurred in Chicago in five patrons and three employees of a private club who had eaten a buffet lunch. Six of the ill persons experienced symptoms that included headache, nausea, flushing, dizziness, and diarrhea 90 minutes after the meal. The median duration of symptoms was 9.5 hours. Investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health revealed that seven of the ill persons had eaten mahi mahi with dill sauce; the eighth had eaten the dill sauce scraped from the serving pan that held the fish. Three persons noted that the fish tasted "Cajun," and one stated that it had a hot or spicy taste.