Study of an outbreak of ciguatera fish poisoning in Hong Kong.Toxicon. 2005 Oct; 46(5):563-71.T
Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) has been a significant and increasing public health problem in Hong Kong since 1980s. With growing demand for imported live coral fishes, the number of people who suffered from this disease has also been increasing. An outbreak of CFP in 2004 was the second most prominent in record as compared with the most significant one that occurred in 1998. In 2004, out of a total of 823 reported food poisoning outbreaks involving 3159 persons, 65 incidents (7.9%) affecting 247 people (7.8%) were attributed to CFP. Validated mouse bioassay analysis of surveillance samples revealed that seven samples (13%) were confirmed to be contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs). Typical symptoms of CTXs were found in mice injected with 20mg of fish extracts. The causative fishes included Cheilinus undulatus, Epinephelus coioides, Plectropomus areolatus, and Plectropomus leopardus. Most of these CTX-positive samples analyzed had only trace amounts of CTXs in their extract, except a C. undulatus sample which contained a mice lethal dose (2.5MU/20mg ether extract). This fish species was also the major origin of coral fish that caused clusters of CFP in the last quarter of 2004. Cigua-Check analysis of 20 flesh grains from seven CTX-positive fishes, previously confirmed as CTX-positive samples by mouse bioassay, showed that 50% of flesh grains were CTX contaminated.