Fish poisoning toll climbs to 48

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 March, 1999, 12:00am

Another 18 people have been struck down with ciguatera poisoning from eating coral reef fish, bringing the toll to 48 since Friday.

The first main outbreak of the year is associated with coral trout and flowery cod from Kiribati.

The fish accumulate toxic algae in their system which causes numbness, diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

Five of the people who reported sick yesterday had consumed fish over the weekend with others who had already reported symptoms. Another 13 people from six new groups of diners also fell ill. In four of the new cases, the fish was consumed in restaurants.

The toxic fish has turned up in restaurants in Kwun Tong, Shamshuipo, the outlying islands and Tai Po, but it originates from two main wholesalers - one in Aberdeen, the other in Kwun Tong.

The cluster of cases has led to calls for the banning of reef fish from menus and increased monitoring of fish imports.

Director of Health Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun said the suppliers had been contacted and the fish recalled.