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Ten persons who had eaten at a seafood meal in North Carolina had gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms suggestive of ciguatera fish poisoning. In five persons, the neurologic morbidity lasted 30 days or longer. The meal included barracuda, dolphin fish (mahimahi), and yellow-fin tuna, all of which were caught in North Carolina coastal waters. Analysis of food-specific attack rates implicated the barracuda as the probable cause of the outbreak. We believe this is the first suspected or confirmed report of ciguatera fish poisoning associated with consumption of fish harvested from mainland US coastal waters outside of Florida. Physicians treating patients with a syndrome resembling ciguatera fish poisoning should inquire about consumption of fish not only from areas where the disease is endemic but also from the southeastern US.

(C) 1990 Southern Medical Association