APRIL 2015


Name: Stephen
Have you been affected by Ciguatera Poisoning?: Yes, I have had ciguatera poisoning
How did you hear about us?: Search Engine


Tell us your story: Hello Jeff and the ciguatera community, I have had ciguatera for 14 days so far. I was on vacation in Florida City visiting the everglades. After a great day exploring the everglades and Key Largo, I stopped at a local restaurant for dinner. I got a seafood pasta dish with spaghetti noodles, 4 shrimp and bits of fish for flavor. The fish bits tasted good, and as I finished eating I asked the waitress what kind of fish it was and she told me that it was Mahi Mahi. I live in Michigan and I don’t know anything about ocean fish, so I didn’t think much of it. I got some key lime pie for dessert and went back to my motel. About 1 hour after I finished eating, I noticed a weird tingling in my left hand. I went on google and looked up what kind of fish Mahi Mahi was to see if it ever caused numbness and then I learned about Ciguatera for the first time. I had never heard of this disease. If I had, I would have abstained from all fish for my entire life. Never did I dream that a single meal could cause years of debilitating neurologic symptoms. I was scared, but I figured that I only ate a small amount and I wasn’t getting vomiting or diarrhea so maybe I was OK. I awoke at 3am drenched in sweat, with a throbbing headache, a racing heart, my legs felt like they were laying on hot coals and my arms were numb. I called poison control becuase I was scared and was considering going to the hospital. Poison control told me that I may have scombroid poisoning which is common with Mahi Mahi. So I went to Walgreen’s at 3am and gto some antihistamines, took them and tried to go back to sleep. In the morning my symptoms remained. I figured it probably wasn’t scombroid poisoning since scombroid poisonig doesn’t cause numbness like ciguatera does. I did my best to continue with my vacation exlporing the natural wonders of Florida and I didn’t consume any more seafood on the trip. My symptoms have come and gone for the last 14 days. I have felt tired, weak, depressed and upset that no one ever told me about this disease so that I could avoid it. If Ciguatera had so much as been mentioned to me at any time during my life, I never would have eaten fish and I never would have gotten Ciguatera. We need to spread awareness about this disease. Nearly everyone I know has been to Florida or goes there on vacation regularly and I have never heard anyone mention Ciguatera. I ate a very small amount of Mahi Mahi on March 26th, 2015. I hope that I get better and I hope I can stave off the depression that I feel as a result of being affected by this illness. Why do restaurants even serve these types of fish? Ciguatera could easily be avoided if restaurants stopped serving carniverous warm water fish and reef fish. I can’t understand why people eat these fish when Ciguatera has been known since the time of Colombus. Evene though we have known about Ciguatera for over 500 years, restaurants continue to serve this fish to unknowing tourists. I believe that it is irresponsible and inhumane to subject people to food that has the slightest chance of causing something as terrible as ciguatera. I offer my sincere condolences to all those suffering from ciguatera poisoning and I wish you all the best and hopefully, eventual recovery from its symptoms. Thanks for being out there. -Steve



Sorry for the delayed response and so sorry to hear you got sick. I’ve personally never heard of anyone getting sick and probably think the fish you ate was something else. A standard practice I see here in all of South Florida is restaurants saying Mahi Mahi was in the dish when its something totally different. Mahi Mahi don’t eat reef fish, they are fast moving off shore ocean fish and mostly eat flying fish and other non reef fish, while not impossible I still think you probably had Grouper in your dish, they catch huge fish like this all the time and serve it many different ways.
I eat Mahi Mahi, Swordfish, Tuna & Wahoo all the time these days and haven’t had any bad reaction. I do stay away from Grouper, Large Snapper & Hogfish which is what got me sick. Please let me know the name of the restaurant you ate at and feel free to call me if you would like to discuss, I’ll add your story to the blog..
Hope You’re Feeling Better!!
Thank you for your response Jeff. The restaurant that I ate the fish at was “Farmer’s Market Restaurant”. Lile I said, the waitress told me that it was Mahi Mahi, but I have no way to be sure since the bits of fish were very small and I don’t know how Mahi Mahi would taste compared with other fish, so I bet it may have been something else.
Ciguatera is terrible. Thanks for being out there for support!