Bluefish-associated scombroid poisoning. An example of the expanding spectrum of food poisoning from seafood

P Etkind, M E Wilson, K Gallagher, J Cournoyer
JAMA 1987 December 18, 258 (23): 3409-10
Five persons who attended a medical conference developed symptoms suggestive of an intoxication after a common meal. Although the symptoms were recognized as typical of scombroid poisoning, no fish of the Scrombridae family had been served. However, food histories implicated bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix). The initially frozen bluefish had been improperly handled in storage and thawing. Elevated levels of histamine, putrescine, and cadaverine were detected in uncooked samples. This outbreak emphasizes that scombroid-type poisoning (1) can be caused by nonscombroid fish such as bluefish, (2) is probably more common than currently recognized, and (3) may become even more widespread as fish become a larger part of our diet. Physicians who work in conjunction with public health officials can help prevent additional cases and outbreaks.

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