Scombrotoxic fish poisoning

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Named after the family/suborder of fish first attributed to the condition: Scombroidea. The species name of mackerel is Scomber Scombrus.

Scombroidea Scombrotoxic fish poisoning, also known as scombroid toxicity or scombrotoxic poisoning is a form of food poisoning. The mechanism of disease is debatable. One theory is that it is caused by histamine and histamine-like products, as a result of bacterial breakdown of seafood. Specifically, is thought that histidine is decarboxylated by This is supported by the finding that patients with scombrotoxic poisoning have elevated plasma[1] and urinary histamine.[2] On the other hand, the symptoms are not replicated with administration of oral histamine, which is not generally absorbed via the gut due to enzymatic degradation. It may be that another co-factor inhibits gut enzymatic degradation, allowing significant systemic absorption.

Foods notably associated with it are:

  • Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Bonito

Symptoms come on within 2 minutes to 2 hours after eating the seafood.

Info bulb.pngStatutorily notifiable as food poisoning.

Treatment is generally unnecessary, but antihistamines or adrenaline may be needed. Certain drugs such as isoniazid and doxycycline can aggravate it by interfering with hepatic histamine breakdown.

See also


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