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Saturday, July 2, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesVolunteers Paid to Aid in Fish Poisoning Study

Volunteers Paid to Aid in Fish Poisoning Study

Those who eat reef fish off the coast of St. Thomas and develop symptoms of fish poisoning may qualify to participate in a paid study examining the connection between human illness from fish poisoning and climate change.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) can cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There is currently no cure for the poisoning, and individuals suffering from the illness may experience complications from CFP throughout their lives.

“People who have fish poisoning often don’t go to the hospital,” said Margaret Abbott, St. Thomas field research coordinator for the Ciguatera “Fish Poisoning” Monitoring project, or CaribCATCH, a three-year study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are now recruiting people directly from the community to participate in this long-term study.”

In order to learn more about CFP and its relationship to climate, researchers seek to interview adult residents of St. Thomas within four days of experiencing symptoms of poisoning. Participants will be interviewed again three months later, and researchers will conduct a final interview of participants at the one-year mark of the onset of symptoms.

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Volunteers are paid $50 per one-hour interview, and medical information identifying participants will remain confidential. Volunteers who do not speak English may participate in the study if a friend or relative is available to translate during interviews.

When herbivorous reef fish eat seaweed or algae, they consume a toxin that can build up in a fish’s flesh, and increased levels of these toxins are seen in fish that feed higher up the food chain. Scientists suspect that warming ocean temperatures cause increases in the amount of toxins present in the environment — toxins that cannot be removed from fish through either cooking or freezing.

“This federally funded study is necessary to understand the prevalence of ciguatera in our community,” said Dr. Clayton Wheatley, director of emergency medicine at Roy Lester Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas. “It is important we try to get answers to improve diagnosis and treatment."

To participate in the study, please contact: Margaret Abbott, 340-626-1698, abbottm@epi.ufl.edu

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Those who eat reef fish off the coast of St. Thomas and develop symptoms of fish poisoning may qualify to participate in a paid study examining the connection between human illness from fish poisoning and climate change.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) can cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There is currently no cure for the poisoning, and individuals suffering from the illness may experience complications from CFP throughout their lives.

“People who have fish poisoning often don’t go to the hospital,” said Margaret Abbott, St. Thomas field research coordinator for the Ciguatera “Fish Poisoning” Monitoring project, or CaribCATCH, a three-year study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are now recruiting people directly from the community to participate in this long-term study.”

In order to learn more about CFP and its relationship to climate, researchers seek to interview adult residents of St. Thomas within four days of experiencing symptoms of poisoning. Participants will be interviewed again three months later, and researchers will conduct a final interview of participants at the one-year mark of the onset of symptoms.

Volunteers are paid $50 per one-hour interview, and medical information identifying participants will remain confidential. Volunteers who do not speak English may participate in the study if a friend or relative is available to translate during interviews.

When herbivorous reef fish eat seaweed or algae, they consume a toxin that can build up in a fish’s flesh, and increased levels of these toxins are seen in fish that feed higher up the food chain. Scientists suspect that warming ocean temperatures cause increases in the amount of toxins present in the environment -- toxins that cannot be removed from fish through either cooking or freezing.

“This federally funded study is necessary to understand the prevalence of ciguatera in our community,” said Dr. Clayton Wheatley, director of emergency medicine at Roy Lester Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas. “It is important we try to get answers to improve diagnosis and treatment."

To participate in the study, please contact: Margaret Abbott, 340-626-1698, abbottm@epi.ufl.edu