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Explainer: What is scombroid fish poisoning?

Mead, R. (2014) Explainer: What is scombroid fish poisoning? The Conversation, 6 February 2014 .

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Preliminary autopsy results have revealed the tragic deaths of Queensland woman Noelene Bishcoff and her daughter Yvana in Bali last month were likely caused by scombroid fish poisoning. Though not common – nor particularly rare – it is easily misdiagnosed. So, what do you need to look out for?

Scombroid poisoning arises from the consumption of fish that contains a high level of histamine, a chemical normally produced within our cells in response to an allergen. Not surprisingly, therefore, the symptoms generated are often mistaken for an allergic reaction to the fish itself.

High levels of histamine are generated in the flesh of the fish due to bacterial contamination, usually resulting from poor storage conditions, and particularly from inadequate refrigeration. These conditions allow bacteria to proliferate and convert an amino acid called histidine, naturally present in the flesh of the fish, into histamine

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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