241410 Reef or Madness

Monday, October 31, 2011: 7:05 PM

Julie Hollenbeck, MA , OHHC / NIOSH Occupational Research Group, University of Miami, Key Biscayne, FL
Reinaldo Trujillo Jr. , Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Key Biscayne, FL
Mark Newbill, BA , UM Rsmas Ohhc, University of Miami, Key Biscayne, FL
Ciguatera is the most reported “seafood toxin illness in the world”, and a majority of the planet has never heard of it. Experts estimate it affects up to 500 thousand people a year worldwide. This short documentary recounts the struggle of chronic Ciguatera sufferers who seek to regain some semblance of their healthy and productive lives following Ciguatera exposure and the incapacitating symptoms that can last for years. In some cases, their very will to live is tested by the devastating and debilitating chronic neurological affects of the fish-borne toxin. While Ciguatera is a recognized medical illness, many marine toxin specialists have yet to agree on how long people may suffer with the symptoms of the fish poison, leaving chronic sufferers to feel as if they are more crazy than sick. Their families and physicians are left wondering the same thing. The film will discuss the marine neurotoxin Ciguatoxin, and the related human illness Ciguatera, and give a “voice” to the sufferers of chronic Ciguatera, who face doubt, confusion and scorn from themselves, their families and friends, as well as the medical and scientific communities. If people knew that the fish they are about to eat is like playing Russian roulette with their health, they might think twice before taking that first bite.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Identify vectors for seafood-borne tropical/subtropical marine toxin, Ciguatoxin Describe the symptoms of Ciguatera, the human health illness caused by Ciguatoxic fish Discuss the underreporting and misdiagnosis of Ciguatera Define biomagnification of Ciguatera in the marine environment-human food chain Demonstrate healthier food choices by avoiding large tropical reef fish like barracuda, black grouper and others

Keywords: Food Safety, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I created the short film when I was a graduate student and am currently a Program and Outreach Manager, responsible for creating outreach and engagement products to disseminate research and scientific topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.