Ciguatera Fish Poisoning and the Effects on Domestic Animals in the Cook Islands

TitleCiguatera Fish Poisoning and the Effects on Domestic Animals in the Cook Islands
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsHolland, Amber M.
Academic DepartmentZoology, College of Science
Thesis AdvisorMuir, Patricia S.
DegreeBachelor of Arts in international Studies in Zoology
Number of Pages32
Date Published06/2002
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
KeywordsCiguatera Fish Poisoning, ciguatoxin, Cook Islands, fish, toxin, zoology

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP), a disorder affecting approximately 50,000 people annually (e.g. Ragelis 1984), is caused by the consumption of fish contaminated by a toxin produced by the dinoflagellate, Gambierdiscus toxicus. This disorder poses a threat to many populations around the world, especially on the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. New information is continuously unveiled as researchers search for answers to questions concerning environmental factors related to the increased production of ciguatera toxin, the biological effects of ciguatera toxin, and conduct molecular studies with hope to find a quick and effective method for detecting ciguatoxins before the toxic fish is consumed. Currently all tests available for ciguatoxin detection are expensive, time consuming, and require high levels of purified ciguatoxin for accurate detection. The following thesis discusses the important areas of research, presents my perspective regarding cultural response in areas exposed to ciguatera toxin by comparing the response to CFP in the United States and the Cook Islands, and ends with a case study about a dog from the Cook Island and her struggle to overcome CFP.