Ciguatera poisoning in French Polynesia: insights into the novel trends of an ancient disease

Type Article
Date 2019-09
Language English
Author(s) Chinain M.1, Gatti C.M.1, Roué M.2, Darius H.T.1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Institut Louis Malardé, Laboratory of Marine Biotoxins—UMR 241-EIO, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
2 : Institut de Recherche pour le Développement—UMR 241-EIO, Pirae, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Source New Microbes and New Infections (20522975) (Elsevier BV), 2019-09 , Vol. 31 , P. 100565 (6p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.nmni.2019.100565
Keyword(s) Ciguatoxins, ciguatera poisoning, Gambierdiscus, geographical expansion, marine invertebrates, new vectors, symptoms

Ciguatera is a non-bacterial seafood poisoning highly prevalent in French Polynesia where it constitutes a major health issue and a major threat to food sustainability and food security for local populations. Ciguatera results from the bioaccumulation in marine food webs of toxins known as ciguatoxins, originating from benthic dinoflagellates in the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. Ciguatera is characterized by a complex array of gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular symptoms. The effective management of patients is significantly hampered by the occurrence of atypical forms and/or chronic sequelae in some patients, and the lack of both a confirmatory diagnosis test and a specific antidote. In addition, recent findings have outlined the implication of novel species of the causative organisms as well as new vectors, namely marine invertebrates, in ciguatera outbreaks. Another novel trend relates to the geographical expansion of this disease to previously unaffected areas, not only in certain island groups of French Polynesia but also in temperate regions worldwide, as a likely consequence of the effects of climate change.

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