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Scientists in Cuba study ciguatera risks

Havana, Mar 16 (Prensa Latina) The risk of ciguatera, a food poisoning whose effect on human health can cause even death, will be studied with advanced techniques at the Center for Environmental Studies of Cienfuegos (CEAC), it was announced.

This research institution, located in the central region of the island, launched the scientific project Diversity, distribution and toxicity of Gambierdiscus spp. and Fukuyoa spp. in Cuba through the application of molecular and nuclear techniques – Ciguatox, Granma newspaper reported.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of the country describes ciguatera on its website as food poisoning caused by the consumption of ill fish, whose effects on humans can be serious and lead to death.

This health mishap is considered the most common marine biotoxin poisoning worldwide and its symptoms usually begin between one and six hours after ingestion of the fish.

The person suffers gastrointestinal discomfort including nausea, vomiting, colic and diarrhea, followed by neurological symptoms such as paresthesia (a sensory disorder manifested by abnormal sensations for no apparent reason, such as tingling), cramps, and weakness.

It can also experience episodes of hypotension and arterial hypertension, bradycardia (low heart rate), and tachycardia (heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute).

This project will complement actions for the transfer of nuclear technologies and molecular methods applied to the subject of harmful algal blooms, with emphasis on those involved in this syndrome.