A GLOBAL REVIEW OF OCCURRENCES AND TRENDS
Chinain M.1*, Gatti C.M.1, Darius H.T.1, Quod J.-P.2, Tester P.A.3
1Laboratory of Marine Biotoxins, Institut Louis Malardé – UMR EIO, BP 30, 98713 Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
2ARVAM-Pareto, Technopole de la Réunion, 14 rue Henri Cornu, 97490 Sainte-Clotilde, La Réunion, France
3Ocean Tester, LLC, 295 Dills Point Road, Beaufort, North Carolina, 28516, USA
Ciguatera Poisoning (CP) is the most prevalent, phycotoxin related seafood poisoning across the globe, affecting between 10,000 to 50,000 people annually. This illness results from the consumption of seafood contaminated with lipid soluble toxins known as ciguatoxins (CTXs) that are produced by benthic dinoflagellates in the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. The present work reviews the global occurrence of CP events and outbreaks, based on both scientific and grey literature.
Ciguatera prevalence is significantly underestimated due to a lack of recognition of ciguatera symptoms, limited collection of epidemiological data on a global level, and reticence to report ciguatera in CP-endemic regions. Analysis of the time-series data available for a limited number of countries indicates the highest incidence rates are consistently reported from two historical CP-endemic areas i.e., the Pacific and Caribbean regions, a situation due in part to the strong reliance of local communities on marine resources. Ciguatera-related fatalities are rare (<0.1% of reported cases). The vast majority of outbreaks involve carnivorous fish including snappers, groupers, wrasses, and barracudas. Since 2000, an expansion of the geographical range of CP has been observed in several areas like Macaronesia and east and southeast Asia. In some of these locales, random surveys confirmed the presence of CTXs in locally sourced fish, consistent with the concurrent report of novel CP incidents (e.g., Canary Islands, Madeira, Selvagens Islands, New South Wales). One characteristic of outbreaks occurring in Asia is that they often present as large disease clusters due to group consumption of a single contaminated fish. Similar observations are reported from the Indian Ocean in the form of shark poisoning outbreaks which often lead to singular types of CP characterized by a high fatality rate. Other atypical forms of CP linked to the consumption of marine invertebrates also have been documented recently. Owing to the significant health, socioeconomic and socio-cultural impacts of ciguatera, there is an urgent need for increased, standardized, coordinated efforts in ciguatera education, monitoring and research programs. Several regional and international initiatives have emerged recently, that may help improve patients' care, data collection at a global scale, and risk monitoring and management capabilities in countries most vulnerable to CP's toxic threat.
Keywords: Ciguatera Poisoning, outbreaks, epidemiology, atypical forms, global occurrence, Gambierdiscus spp., Fukuyoa spp., ciguatoxins; toxin analyses