SEPTEMBER 2013
Tell us your story: Hi. My husband and I visited the Dominican Republic the last week of August 2013. The Sunday after I returned I woke up with incredible dizziness. I could hardly get out of bed. I also experienced nausea and diarrhea. I missed two days if work and then was able to return to work. I have not felt 100 percent – have been tired and have had headaches. Last weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a fish taco made of Dolphin. The next morning I woke up with extreme dizziness again and missed two days of work also experiencing nausea and diarrhea and cramps in the back of my calves. I also had a headache and had painful and continuous urination. After the second day I returned to work but have been tired. The last two days of my trip to DR my husband and I had red snapper. We had never had that fish before plus we were the only couple in the restaurant. Earlier that week we had eaten grouper. My husband has experienced Gastro issues but nothing dramatic. I have also had either excessive salivation in my mouth or dry mouth. I have not experienced hot and cold reversal. I went to the family doctor and had a battery of tests done. Everything came back A- OK. My doctor had never heard of ciguatera and told me there was nothing that could be done anyway and has recommended that I see an ENT doctor for my dizziness. I have read numerous articles and am convinced I have ciguatera especially after experiencing this last episode of dizziness after eating dolphin. My husband thinks I am exaggerating. Where do I go from here?  Nancy
Nancy:

So sorry to hear you got sick. The symptoms you’re describing do sound like ciguatera however the progression of your sickness sounds different. Every case I’ve ever read or heard of including ours the symptoms start within 6-8 hours after eating the fish, gastro is first and then all the other symptoms set in the next day and continue for most people 1 to 4 weeks and in severe cases like mine last for months.
With that said there’s very little they really know about cigutera and no cure or treatment so I would say you definitely could have it based on feeling the symptoms after eating fish again back home. I would avoid fish, shellfish, nuts, coffee, alcohol, chocolate, mushrooms and grains for a few weeks and see if that helps with the symptoms.
Hopefully the ENT doctor can give you something that helps, nothing I tried ever helped, only time. Feel free to call me if you would like to talk, I’m on the east coast, if not please stay in touch and let me know if the symptoms subside over the next few weeks..
Sincerely,
Jeff

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your reply. My symptoms started within 24 hours of eating red snapper but need to do further research on the onset of syptoms.  The strangest part is that the symptoms returned when I ate fish again, seems a bit coincidental. However, I am planning on seeing an infectious disease specialist locally – if anything for peace of mind and to educate myself. In the meantime, I am not eating any fish or nuts, mushrooms and grains. I have cut back on coffee and alcohol.   I will also plan to see an ENT. Will keep you posted if I hear anything that could be useful. Thanks again for responding to my email. Nancy

 

Thanks Nancy, It definitely sounds like cigutera and eating fish again within days can trigger symptoms again, hopefully you have a mild case and your symptoms will diminish and go away quickly, there are a couple links on thewebsite, caribcatch & the video reef or madness with more info…

Jeff