Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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Information on ciguatera (fish poisoning)

Ciguatera, or fish poisoning, is an illness caused by eating fish containing certain toxins. These toxins come from a type of algae, and get into the fish either through it eating the algae, or eating fish which have eaten the algae.

It can cause symptoms like  nausea, vomiting, and tingling fingers or toes. It can also make cold things feel hot and hot things feel cold. It has no cure. Symptoms usually go away in days or weeks but can last for longer.

Ciguatera can be found in many areas of the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and the Caribbean. There is no way to tell whether fish has been contaminated, so if you are visiting a tropical island in these parts of the world and want to avoid ciguatera, avoid eating reef fish. Deep water fish like tuna are a better option.

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