- The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS)
and the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES)
have been investigating several cases of neurotoxin poisoning associated
with the consumption of contaminated pufferfish (also known as blowfish).
The contaminated fish were reportedly taken from ocean waters near
of the affected New Jersey residents had consumed contaminated pufferfish
in mid-March that had been recreationally caught in Florida by a
relative and transported to New Jersey. Today, a third person was
diagnosed by a hospital in Bergen County with symptoms compatible
with neurotoxin poisoning. The individual had also reportedly consumed
pufferfish purchased from a local retail fish store.
symptoms of neurotoxin poisoning may include numbness of the lips
and tongue, tingling and burning of the face and extremities, incoherent
or slurred speech, and in some cases may lead to respiratory paralysis.
The symptoms normally appear rapidly within minutes to several hours
after consumption of the contaminated fish.
biotoxins, such as this neurotoxin, are naturally occurring in marine
waters and are a by-product of algal blooms upon which the pufferfish
feed. These biotoxins may accumulate in the fish. This toxin cannot
be destroyed by cooking or freezing.
NJDHSS is working closely with public health and marine research
officials from the state of Florida, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
department is recommending that anyone with pufferfish that may
have originated from Florida not consume the product. If you have
any questions regarding this investigation, please contact the department
during normal work hours at 609-588-3123 or (609) 392-2020 after