Ciguatera and Fish Tapeworm Infection: Legal Help

Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids that can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers. However, consuming contaminated and/or improperly prepared fish can pose grave health risks, such as ciguatera fish poisoning and fish tapeworm infection. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization, ciguatera fish poisoning sickens about 500,000 people worldwide each year. Fish tapeworm infection occurs somewhat less often, affecting several thousand individuals annually.

Individuals who develop ciguatera fish poisoning or fish tapeworm infection after eating a contaminated restaurant meal or consuming tainted fish bought at a fish market might be entitled to compensation for their physical and psychological suffering. All seafood manufacturers, distributors and servers in the United States are required to adhere to strict food safety guidelines. Failure to carry out this obligation, such as serving undercooked or poisonous fish, might make them liable for any damages their customers suffer as a result.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning

Ciguatera fish poisoning is caused by ciguatoxin, a toxin found in large tropical reef fish, such as barracuda, red snapper, black grouper and king mackerel. The toxin can cause a range of gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular symptoms, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness, reversal of hot and cold sensations and slow heart rate. Currently, no ciguatoxin antidote is available, which is why ciguatera treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms and managing side effects. While ciguatera symptoms usually resolve within several weeks, the disease can lead to partial or complete paralysis. In rare cases, ciguatera causes fatal complications such as respiratory failure and/or heart failure.

Due to the scope of commercial manufacturing and distribution of seafood products, ciguatoxin has caused several large-scale outbreaks in recent years. In 2007, nine ciguatera cases were confirmed in North Carolina, with three of the ciguatera victims developing long-term complications. In the same year, 10 people contracted ciguatoxin after eating at two St. Louis restaurants. One of the latest ciguatera outbreaks occurred in Canada in January 2009, prompting a recall of ciguatoxin-tainted frozen leatherjacket fish. Several victims of these ciguatera outbreaks have sued the responsible fish suppliers in order to obtain compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, as well as physical and emotional suffering.

Fish Tapeworm Infection

Fish tapeworm infection is caused by ingesting the larvae of fish tapeworm, which can occur by eating raw or undercooked fish. In the human intestines, the tapeworm can grow to reach up to 30 feet in length. While fish tapeworm infection typically does not produce any symptoms, some victims notice abdominal discomfort, nausea and loss of appetite. Fish tapeworm infection can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause megaloblastic anemia. Because fish tapeworm infection is often diagnosed a long time after ingesting the parasite, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of infection. However, in cases whereby fish tapeworm victims can prove that their infection was caused by an improperly prepared seafood dish, the responsible restaurant might be held liable for their financial, physical and psychological damages.

Ciguatera / Fish Tapeworm Infection Legal Help

If you suspect that you might have contracted ciguatoxin or fish tapeworm after eating fish at a restaurant or consuming seafood bought at a store, you might be entitled to compensation. Please contact the law offices of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz at (844) 794-7402 to discuss your case and determine the most appropriate course of action, such as filing a personal injury lawsuit. In addition to handling ciguatera and fish tapeworm infection cases, the food poisoning attorneys of AWKO Law can help you resolve legal issues arising from E. coli, botulism, campylobacter and salmonella food poisoning.