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Barracuda can make you sick Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00

In the space of four days the Ministry of Health has put out two advisories that the consumption of Barracuda can make you sick. On Friday August 18th the ministry put out a release stating that, “suspected fish poisoning (Ciguatera poisoning) was detected in persons that had eaten fish bought from a fish vendor in Ladyville, Belize District.  Further investigation into these cases has linked and identified that the fish consumed was barracuda.”  Then on Wednesday August 23rd a second advisory was issued stating that, “2 further cases of suspected Ciguatera poisoning have been identified. Investigations conducted so far reveal that the barracuda fish from the Turneffe Islands area has been the sole carrier of the ciguatoxin or poison.”

According to the Ministry of Health, Ciguatera poisoning can cause tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes, around lips, tongue, mouth and throat. Persons can also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and or abdominal cramps, joint pains, headache and breathing difficulty. These symptoms are usually manifested between 24 to 48 hours after consuming contaminated fish. The ministry states that toxic fish do not have any different odor or taste and cooking and freezing the fish does not eliminate the toxin.

The ministry continues its warning stating that ciguatera poisoning is normally seen in predatory fish, mainly barracudas. However, other fish such as the coral trout, red snapper, donu, parrot fish, grouper, Spanish mackerel, red emperor, wrasse, reef cod, sturgeon fish, trevally and moray eel may also cause ciguatera poisoning.

Finally the ministry warns as follows:

To prevent ciguatera poisoning, consumers are advised to:

1. Avoid eating the head, roe or fish egg, liver, or other organs of the fish as it is where the highest level of toxin is present.

2. Eat other types of fish not listed above.

3. Avoid eating large sea fish. Limit the weight of a fish to less than 11 pounds as ciguatera fish poisoning occurs more frequently in larger fish.

4. Report any suspected fish poisoning to the local Public Health Officer so necessary action can be taken to prevent it.