Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific Islands (1998 - 2008)

Skinner, Mark P., Brewer, Tom D., Johnstone, Ron, Fleming, Lora E. and Lewis, Richard J. (2011) Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific Islands (1998 - 2008). PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 5 12: e1416.1-e1416.7. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001416

Author Skinner, Mark P.
Brewer, Tom D.
Johnstone, Ron
Fleming, Lora E.
Lewis, Richard J.
Title Ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific Islands (1998 - 2008)
Journal name PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1935-2727
Publication date 2011-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001416
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 5
Issue 12
Start page e1416.1
End page e1416.7
Total pages 7
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Ciguatera is a type of fish poisoning that occurs throughout the tropics, particularly in vulnerable island communities such as the developing Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). After consuming ciguatoxin-contaminated fish, people report a range of acute neurologic, gastrointestinal, and cardiac symptoms, with some experiencing chronic neurologic symptoms lasting weeks to months. Unfortunately, the true extent of illness and its impact on human communities and ecosystem health are still poorly understood.


A questionnaire was emailed to the Health and Fisheries Authorities of the PICTs to quantify the extent of ciguatera. The data were analyzed using t-test, incidence rate ratios, ranked correlation, and regression analysis.

There were 39,677 reported cases from 17 PICTs, with a mean annual incidence of 194 cases per 100,000 people across the region from 1998–2008 compared to the reported annual incidence of 104/100,000 from 1973–1983. There has been a 60% increase in the annual incidence of ciguatera between the two time periods based on PICTs that reported for both time periods. Taking into account under-reporting, in the last 35 years an estimated 500,000 Pacific islanders might have suffered from ciguatera.


This level of incidence exceeds prior ciguatera estimates locally and globally, and raises the status of ciguatera to an acute and chronic illness with major public health significance. To address this significant public health problem, which is expected to increase in parallel with environmental change, well-funded multidisciplinary research teams are needed to translate research advances into practical management solutions.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 48 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 56 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Wed, 21 Dec 2011, 22:13:20 EST by Susan Allen on behalf of Institute for Molecular Bioscience