Poisoning from fish may be linked to toxic plant


Editor's Picks
 A perfect place for your Fighter to rest his little fins — the Betta Bed Leaf Hammock.
Gear Post
Review: Betta Bed Leaf Hammock
21 November 2017
 Just look at that little face... No wonder then, that so many fishkeepers find these little puffers so hard to resist.
Features Post
Join the puffer fish fan club!
28 September 2017
 Special care needs to be taken when catching Pictus catfish and other species with spines.
Features Post
Travels with your fish
03 August 2017

A muscle-destroying disease in people who've eaten Buffalo fish (Ictiobus) or crayfish in the U.S. may be linked to Water hemlock.

Haff disease isn't common, with only 30 reported cases in the U.S. since 1984, although it affected three people in Mississippi last month, all of whom had eaten Buffalo fish. Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours of eating the fish and include chest pains, muscle pain and weakness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, and a dark-coloured urine. None of the cases reported in the U.S. have proved fatal.

However, because the chest pains are similar to those of a heart attack, it's possible that some cases are being mis-diagnosed.

According to a report in the Sun Herald, experts believe that the illness could be caused by humans eating bottom-feeders that have been feasting on the tuberous roots of Water hemlock — described as the most toxic plant in North America. The plant is very common and grows in shallow water that can flood for some of the year.

Haff disease is caused by a toxin that destroys skeletal muscle tissue - possibly the same one (cicutoxin) found in Water hemlock and which is particularly concentrated around the roots of the plant.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad.