Thirty-eight known cases of fish poisoning, in two separate outbreaks, caused by the eating of varieties of sea bass from Midway and Christmas Islands of the South Pacific, are reported. It is believed that the etiologic agent is an alkaloid present in the apparently fresh fish which is heat stable. The signs, symptoms and public health implications are discussed.
The authors recommend that studies and observations should be made by those who have the facilities and trained personnel to classify, study, experiment with and record dangerous fishes that may produce fish poisoning in waters of the South Pacific and the Hawaiian area. Physicians and others in this area should be on the lookout for this form of fish poisoning and should report cases or suspected cases to the Health Department as soon as possible to prevent the development of additional cases.
Director of Public Health, Board of Health, Territory of Hawaii, Honolulu, T. H.