Most holidaymakers jetting off to the sun imagine food poisoning to be an illness that is caused by infected meat.
However fish poisoning especially abroad where waters may be polluted is an underestimated cause of sickness which can leave victims with terrible symptoms lasting a lifetime.
Simpson Millar Solicitors are food poisoning compensation claims specialists and assist clients whose holidays have been spoilt by illness and sickness at hotels abroad.
Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or drop us a line using the form above
Typical cases of food poisoning involving seafood and holidaymakers falling ill abroad concern shellfish such as oysters (which are consumed raw), prawns, crabs and mussels.
The water that shellfish live in is an important determining factor, whether freshwater or seawater.
Fish and shellfish live on algae and seaweed. The algae and seaweed can be contaminated by bacterium which then is consumed by the shellfish or fish.
Bacteria is often found in waters where raw sewage is pumped. Many hotels in destinations such as Egypt flush raw sewage straight into the sea.
There are 2 main types of fish food poisoning that affect holidaymakers abroad:
Poisoning can occur when decaying fish is consumed.
Fish should be refrigerated straight away as it releases histamine when it starts to become warm as part of the instant decaying process which leads to a toxic reaction which when ingested will affect the person.
Tuna, sardines, anchovies and mackerel are fish that carry the toxin and warm climates found in exotic holiday destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico offer the perfect heat for fast decay.
The symptoms are similar to an allergic reaction and therefore are often confused. These symptoms usually present as:
These symptoms subsequently lead to:
Poisoning happens when fish and shellfish containing toxins produced by coral, seaweed and algae are consumed which then release the toxins once ingested.
The toxin is produced by tiny organisms.
Ciguatera food poisoning is mainly associated with shellfish that are harvested from tropical waters but can move up the food chain when, for example, small fish that live off seaweed and algae are themselves eaten by larger fish.
Sea Bass and Red Snapper are two well know larger fish that potentially carry the toxin.
There is no cure for Ciguatera poisoning.
Symptoms of this form of food poisoning are severe attacking the digestive system and then the neurological and cardiovascular systems appearing within twelve hours of contaminated fish being eaten.
Ciguatera food poisoning symptoms present in stages the first stage symptoms are:
These symptoms reside after several days of attacking the digestive system before progressing to strike at the neurological system causing the infected person to suffer (although neurological symptoms may appear within a short time eg as quick as a few hours after consuming the infected food):
An infected person may also experience cardiovascular symptoms which present as:
Some fish such as Marlin and Swordfish contain mercury and therefore people are advised to limit their consumption to a single weekly portion.
There are very simple food handling and hygiene rules to be followed to reduce the risk of poisoning. Some basic rules are:
Be aware that seafood which is consumed raw, for example mussels and oysters, are high risk foods and you are at a significantly increased risk of poisoning.
There are four primary categories that the causes can be split into.
Did you suffer from illness on holiday caused by decaying or contaminated fish or shellfish served at your resort hotel?
Simpson Millar specialise in pursuing food poisoning compensation and can claim substantial compensation for you or any member of your family who has had an illness abroad on holiday caused by Scombroid or Ciguatera poisoning.