A Curious Case of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in the Midwest and a Review for Clinicians.J Emerg Med. 2020 Mar; 58(3):e109-e111.JE
Ciguatera poisoning is one of the most prevalent types of fish poisoning, but it is often underreported, leading many health practitioners to be unfamiliar in correctly identifying and treating this toxicity.
We present a case of ciguatera toxicity encountered in an emergency department in a Midwest community hospital setting. A 56-year-old woman presented to the ED with symptoms of perioral numbness, generalized pruritis, and hot/cold temperature reversal. Through careful history taking it was determined that the patient had recently returned from vacationing in the Caribbean and had been consuming meals containing various types of fish. A clinical diagnosis of ciguatera toxicity was made, and the patient was treated supportively. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: This topic is important in the realm of emergency medicine because it presents a known toxicologic pathogen in an unsuspecting geographic location. This case highlights the importance of maintaining broad differentials and considering a patient's travel and exposure history to make the clinical diagnosis of ciguatoxin as well as the importance of preventative management to avoid recurrence of symptoms. We review the etiology of this fascinating toxin as well as the clinical implications in the diagnosis and management of this toxicity.