Ciguatera poisoning appears after ingestion of contaminated fish from tropical coral reefs. Due to the diversity of clinical symptoms and the absence of a specific test in humans, the diagnosis is often difficult.
A retrospective study of 10 patients consulting for a clinical and epidemiological picture compatible with ciguatera poisoning after a trip to tropical countries between 1993 and 2000.
Most infections but one were acquired in the Caribbean area and there were 8 females. Clinical manifestations started within the first 24 hours after fish ingestion. Chief symptoms were diarrhea and nausea, followed by neurological symptoms, mainly limbs paresthesias that persisted for several weeks.
The severity of clinical symptoms was variable and not related to age or initial symptoms. Ciguatera poisoning has to be considered in the diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis affecting travellers to tropical areas.