Press Releases

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning- Press Release No.1_27 July 2022

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The Ministry of Health would like to update the public on the current Ciguatera Fish Poisoning situation in Vanuatu. From 1st January to 17th July 2022, a total of 32 ciguatera fish poisoning have been reported to the National Surveillance Unit. Twenty- three in Penama, six (6) in Malampa and three (3) in Shefa Province. No death had been reported so far.

Seventy-two percent (72) of the cases were from Penama Province and areas presented with more ciguatera were Torgil, Nasawa and Ruruga. Sixty- five percent (65%) of the cases were adults above 40 years old. Grouper, Trevally and Snapper are the type of fish that was mostly consumed by cases.

 

Ciguatera transmission and symptoms

Ciguatera is a foodborne illness acquired by eating predatory reef fish that have accumulated naturally occurring ciguatoxins found in several algae species through their diet and present with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Neurological signs within 24 hours of eating reef fish such as: numbness, tingling, ataxia (unsteady movement or staggering walk) and temperature reversal (cold things feel burning hot on the skin.

The Ministry of Health would like to emphasise the importance of early detection and management of Ciguatera Fish poisoning. Anyone who suspects that they have symptoms of Ciguatera should visit their nearest healthcare facility immediately for care and follow up. This is the key message which everyone must understand.

 

Prevention

The best way for people to prevent ciguatera fish poisoning is to avoid eating large fish from certain reef areas. Seek advice from the Government Fisheries Department and other local authorities to determine which fish in your areas present the highest risk.

 

The Surveillance unit within the Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation in Shefa, Malampa, Penama and other provinces. Updates will be provided as the situation evolves.

Working Hours

Office Open Hours: Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM

Hospital/Emergency: 24/7

Contacts

Ministry of Health Office
Port-Vila

Phone: +(678) 22512 / +(678) 33080
VOIP: 2050

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