Use of Surveillance Systems in Detection of a Ciguatera Fish Poisoning Outbreak - Orange County, Florida, 2014.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Oct 16; 64(40):1142-4.MM
What is already known on this topic? Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), caused by the ingestion of predatory reef-dwelling fish harboring ciguatoxins is one of the most commonly reported fish-associated marine intoxications. Ciguatoxin retains toxicity regardless of freezing or cooking. Prompt treatment can reduce debilitating neurologic symptoms that are associated with CFP.What is added by this report? Syndromic surveillance systems in Florida identified six adults with CFP following consumption of black grouper. Five patients sought medical attention; health care providers did not make a diagnosis of CFP or report the cases to public health authorities, and none of the patients received treatment. Close collaboration among several investigating agencies allowed traceback efforts to link black grouper consumed by all patients to a common international distributor.What are the implications for public health practice? Syndromic surveillance systems capable of detecting CFP are essential public health tools to identify outbreaks and enhance investigations. Medical and public health practitioners should be educated to inquire about recent fish consumption when evaluating patients with clinically compatible signs and symptoms to allow for prompt treatment, and report suspected CFP cases to public health authorities to facilitate source-food traceback efforts. Public education on avoidance of consumption of relatively large predatory reef fish species known to be from ciguatoxic-endemic areas might reduce the risk for CFP.