DECEMBER 2015
*Name: Randall

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: First off, let me say thank you for providing this forum. As you know, there isn’t much information as to what the long term prognosis is for each case. It is basically a wait and see approach while managing the symptoms. My story is fairly typical as what I have already read on this site. I went to a highly recommended seafood restaurant in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, December 9th 2015. The server was raving about the Hogfish special which was available as a large whole fish or as a steak. I am grateful that I only had the steak. About three hours later in my hotel, I had a massive bout of Diarrhea. No vomiting, tingling skin, hot instead of cold, itching, etc. I slept and took a double dose of Immodium the next morning as I headed for the airport to return home. On the plane, I started feeling a heaviness similar to what you get from an opiate painkiller. I had thought it was a reaction to the Immodium as it is derived from an opiate. I w as fatigued and had a malaise for the entire day. I called a pharmacist friend and he told me that a reaction to Immodium was possible. At that point I wrote it off as the diarrhea and stopped. I didn’t even consider food poisoning. Over the next few days, I started to develop muscle aches, particularly in the quadracep muscles of my legs. I had trouble climbing stairs and working out at the gym. I am physically fit and do both cardio and weight exercise six days a week. I am 45 and in excellent health. The muscle aches persisted and I started to develop mild tingling and chills. The most difficult symptom to manage is the muscle ache. A friend said I may have Lyme disease and convinced me to see my doctor. This was four days after the meal in Puerto Rico. My doctor opened late on that day so I started doing internet research in the morning. (Bad idea…) I quickly learned about Ciguatera and made the connection to my meal in Puerto Rico. I did not have all of th e symptoms but the ones I had were a match to the illness and with the right timing. However, I did not want to self-diagnose so I headed to the doctor. I told him I thought I had food poisoning that developed after I ate Hogfish. He ran down a checklist of symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, chills, etc.) some of which I had. He paused and stated he thought I had a “very interesting disease called Ciguatera poisoning”. I then told him about what I had found in my own research. I was impressed with his diagnosis as we live in PA, far from the hot spots of CFP. This was the first case he has ever diagnosed but had a reference book that we went through together. He said that I seem to have a mild case of it and that it would probably go away in weeks if not months. I would agree as I do not have all of the symptoms and I did not have the dramatic onset of the disease like what I have read on the internet. However, it did start to deal with a mild form of grabbing cold things and having them burn. Again, a mild form and it has just stared developing six days in. It may even be psychosomatic know that I believe I have this. Given that I have a mild case, it would seem like this will go away. However, I would love some feedback from the blog based on my story. Thanks again for providing this resource. PS. I did call the restaurant and explained the situation so that they would at least know. They were understandably defensive even though I was only trying to inform and learn if more cases I have been reported. I gave them my information but I have not heard back.

Randall:

Sorry to hear you got ciguatera poisoning but glad it sounds like a mild case, I’m also impressed to hear your doctor got the diagnosis correct being from PA. Please keep me posted on your progress and feel free to contact me direct if you would like to talk.
Sincerely,  Jeff
Did your symptoms subside? If so, how long did it take?  Did you ever try eating fish again  (you mentioned you were going to in the blog)? I thought my symptoms were getting better but know I seem to be getting them consistently every day.
It took about 6 months for me to noticeably see everything subsiding, I  still had reversal of hot & cold but that also was not severe like the beginning. I remember getting sweaty feet from time to time and some minor symptoms after 6 months but they would go away.

I do eat fish as often as before, I mainly eat non reef fish like Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo & swordfish, I’ve tried Grouper a couple of times in very small amounts, can’t get myself to go back to eating reef fish on a regular basis yet as its just not worth the risk to me.

Stay positive and tell yourself your getting better every day, You Will!!
Jeff
Thanks for the support.  My doctor is a family member so I was able to follow-up with him informally over the holidays.  It turns out he used to be a member of the Wilderness Medical Society (https://www.wms.org). During one of their conferences years ago, he sat in on a talk on CFP.  This was how he was able to make the diagnosis.  My symptoms now are day to day.  I went two days with relatively few symptoms but I have the muscle fatigue back.  I am grateful I didn’t eat a larger portion.  Thanks again for creating this blog and answering my questions.  It has been a huge help to communicate with someone who can relate.