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ciguatera poisoning

North Wales, United...
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ciguatera poisoning

We have just returned fron a 3week holiday on Carriacou Island. We absolutly adore this hideaway BUT we have all had a very bad experience there."Ciguatera poisoning". We ate Barracuda at a local Bar/Resturant it tasted good and we enjoyed it. By the next day we were feeling a bit strange.My neice was vomiting and had diarrhea,my husband and I felt lathargic and we all had pins and needles in our hands and feet,freezing when we should have been too hot,eyes watering for no reason and fatigue. Most peculiar though, was the burning sensations whenever you touched anything cold.We thought we had perhaps been to liberal with the insect repellents or that the ant invasion had somehow affected us.

All this was about to dramatically change. on the third day my nieces partner suffered a serious heart attack. He was rushed to Carriacou hospital's casualty dept. stabilisedand then sent by charter plane to Grenada.

They were not equipt to deal with him there so,as the couple are French it was decided they should be sent to Martinique.He was there for 2weeks,this was how serious his condition was,it was then decided he could travel ,under supervision of a doctor,back to france where he is still in hospital. My niece my husband and myself are still suffering from the effects of the poisoning.

I have done some reserch and discovered that the symptoms will last for at least 3-6 months

and may recur over a period of years. There is no antidote for this poison and very little,if anything,that can be done to help.

Why is no-one telling us about this. There are screeds of information about the Carribeen. Grenada and St,Vincent and the Grenadines are hughly popular holiday destinations,yet I had to spend hours trying to get any information about this highly dangerous but detectable poison.

Resturants can get a kit to test for the presence of Ciguatera.It is transfered to large edible fish(Barracuda,Kingfish,Lion fish etc.) through consumption of smaller reef feeding fish.The kit is not difficult to use and takes very little time.

People have died from Ciguatera poisoning. Is it not time the authorities responsible for the wellfare of travellers to their countries, made this information a prominent feature of their tourist information.Why isn't in a feature of tourist office advertisingin the U.K. and elsewhere, and why do tour operator not advise you of the danger.

This will not stop us re-visiting beautiful Carriacou but we will certainly never eat large reef fish again.such a pity.

I hope this will stop others from having to go through the troubles we have had.

If you are going to the carribeen OR the south Pacific Islands,especially Hawai, look up 'CIGUATERA'before you go and be prepared. This poison can kill!

Posted by...toofrenchtooenglish.

Grenada
5 posts
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11. Re: ciguatera poisoning

I am also quite surprised to read that doctors in Grenada give without patient permission information to third parties.

The restaurant you describing where you ate the food sounds like Twilight restaurant – this is the only with a pavillion on the beach.

But do you really expect on a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean that they have your European standard ? Those testing sets might be standard in Europe or the US but definitely not available in Grenada or on one of the even smaller Grenadines islands.

North Wales, United...
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12. Re: ciguatera poisoning

I do not expect "european standards" on a tiny island in the Caribeen,I have become accustomed to much higher standards there then I expect in Europe.Here no-one has any regard for anyone but themselves and customer satisfaction is laughable if not non-existent. I have always found standards very high on Carrriacou,and ,more importantly people seem to look out for each other.

I have said over & over again.I am not blaming anyone,this happened and I'm sure no-one intended harm.

As far as I know,and this is very little as I this whole scenario is new to me, there is no need for test kits in Europe. If this problem had a little more publicity maybe we could go prepared.

I suggested testing by resturants in the Caribeen becomming compulsory because everything I have reserched concerning this problem indicates the 'kits' are available and at no great cost.

As for the Hopsitals giving information to a third party without consent,I am pleased to see I am not alone in being suprised and somewhat alarmed.

I thank you for your interest and your taking time to respond.All dialog is important.

Edited: 4:26 pm, April 09, 2013
Toronto
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5,119 posts
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13. Re: ciguatera poisoning

as The Grenada Board of Tourism is a gov't agency, I am not surprised the hospital shared your information - they do things a bit differently in the Caribbean and as you have noted people in Grenada are more genuinely concerned about others.

I seriously doubt test kits are widely available in Europe as ciguatera poisoning is unique to reef fish - there aren't any reefs in waters in and around Europe, so it is likely that most Europeans have never heard of it either.

North Wales, United...
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14 posts
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14. Re: ciguatera poisoning

Thank you for your response. Yes, the Tourist board,Grenada is an official body, but unless the Carribeen wishes to regard itself a a third world country,I see no reason respect of an individuals privacy should not be protected by law. I also think that broadcasting the details obtained on an open forum is compounding the breach.

Please note.....I DO NOT regard the Islands of the Caribeen as ""Third World"" I want to make this absolutely

clear.We have been visiting for years and will continue to do so!

As for the test kits,We do not have malaria carrying mosquitos in Europe but I can buy Mosquito Nets before I go abroad.

As this is such a serious issue I believe the kits should be made available through the tourist board, specialist retailers or the information given on the government websites,they do it for India so why not the Caribeen.

Lets hope the interest so many people have shown in this topic,will prompt someone into action.

Edited: 12:54 pm, April 14, 2013
Grenada
5 posts
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15. Re: ciguatera poisoning

Sadly, most Caribbean countries are third world countries Grenada as well : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_world_countries .

About your really bad experience with ciguatera if you travel in places like this you should inform yourself before. My family were aware about the Ciguatera issue in the Caribbean that is why we NEVER eat big fish like barracuda at all there. We know even locals which got ciguatera themselves. I also never heard about those test kits before. In my opinion I do not think that it is the responsibly of the Board of Tourism to provide those kits. They can not be in charge of every single place which is offering food around the island as there are also many small street vendors and most places the cook had never any real cooking training. In most small bars or restaurants like you will find in Carriacou it is just some local woman in the kitchen which is cooking the food she learned from her mother. I think only 4 or 5 restaurants on the whole island may have real trained cooks in the kitchen. But this are mostly the more expensive places and not the local place around the corner. This is also an issue in third world countries there are no rules or regulations about who can provide food. In France or Europe I assume you could never do this at least over there you need a real trained cook in the kitchen.

North Wales, United...
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14 posts
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16. Re: ciguatera poisoning

In response to 'calibri204.

Thank you for your mail. I apologise for this very late response,personal unavoidable business abroad has kept me away from my keyboard.

I think we have a mis-understanding.I was not sugesting the Tourist office 'provide' the kits to resturants . However I do think they should make them available for responsible resturateurs to aquire. This may incur a small cost but surley this is preferable to possibly poisoning your customers. Maybe the answer is testing at the fish market!

The responsibility does not lie with the cook (unless they are also the owner) it lies with the person in charge owner/manager whoever.

The main point of my suggestion the Tourist Offices should advise travellers of the dangers was intended for Tourist offices in ones country of origin. Getting information BEFORE you leave your own shores, is by far preferable to expecting help from agencies in small countries or agencies possibly situated on another Island or mainland.

I would like to know how and where you were able to get the information about Ciguatere as I now have Carribeen devotees,friends, who want to know how to protect themselves during subsequent trips to the Islands.

I must also add that one is as likely to be exposed to food poisoning in Europe as anywhere else in the world. The only difference is recourse to the law should one be unfortunate to experence this.

I re-itterate I am not blaming anyone,and know that there was no intent. This was an unfortunate happening which we are still paying for but next time we will be better prepared.

thank you again for your interest.

Bristol, United...
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17. Re: ciguatera poisoning

what to make of johnot13s post about machette attacks and robbery on the beach is it safe to come to grenada or not. also could people be targeted after they post on trip advisor about when and where they are staying

chris davies

North Wales, United...
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14 posts
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18. Re: ciguatera poisoning

We have only spent one night on Grenada as part of our holidays. I have not heard about this incedent so really can't comment.

It is wise to take sensible precautions wherever you holiday. Its wise to ask responsible locals about the safety of local beaches,nightclubs jungle walks etc,and about anyone offering to take you on tours or out to sea.

99% of local people are as horrified by these incedents as the tourists,and try to keep us as safe as possible.

Unfortunatly there are rotten apples in every barrel.

As for being robbed in your accomadition. Most of that responsibilty is up to you. Its not necessary to give away your specific address when you post something,and of course you should take the same precautions as you would at home. Lock up,don't leave anything visible on your terrace,obvoiusly never leave valuables out, hide them if you can. Don't give too much information to strangers, Its great to be friendly and exchange stories,just remember not everyone you meet is what they appear to be.

Relax,enjoy just don't leave your brains at home.

Edited: 9:46 am, May 05, 2013
Javea
1 post
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19. Re: ciguatera poisoning

Dear Miss NikoyanRoberts, in my opinion it would do unneeded harm to name the restaurant where the fish was eaten. Therestaurant owners are not the culprit, i believe there is no restaurant on Carriacou that tests fish for this poison and probably very few on Grenada. Do not seek a scapegoat but please advise tourists to the Grenadines of the minimal chance getting poisoned of eating these large fish. The disease gets transfered only by large species that have attracted the poison from coral way up north. Smaller barracuda are less likely to have the poison since they have not travelled down south so far. It always surpises me that people on Grenada will eat large barracuda while more south on Trinidad they fear it for the poison. Please put a warning on the site of the Grenada board of tourism that large barracuda, and maybe other fish, can be dangerous to eat. If it becomes a more recurring problem then the Government should oblige all restaurants to have test kits en test every large fish that could carry the poison.

Grenada
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20. Re: ciguatera poisoning

Thanks. We are not "naming and blaming", but rather - as you have recommended - working together with other tourism, fisheries, and Standards personnel, to educate all locals and visitors on proactive ways to avoid becoming ill from challenges like this. Best wishes from Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, and we hope that you can visit our beautiful islands sometime.

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