Aquaculture for all

Fish suspected as cause of illnesses

US - Health officials are investigating 10 suspected cases of a rare fish-borne illness that diners may have contracted at two local restaurants.

In late November, 10 people who ate at Blue Water Grill in Kirkwood and Frazer's Restaurant and Lounge in St. Louis told the restaurants they became sick after eating amberjack, a warm-water fish.

The restaurants reported the illnesses to Bob's Seafood, in University City, where they bought the fish. Bob's, in turn, reported the cases to health authorities.

The federal Food and Drug Administration is investigating the source of the tainted fish, which Bob's bought from a federally inspected facility in Louisiana.

"As soon as we knew about the problem we contacted the FDA," said Bob Mepham, the store's owner.

Mepham explained that he's sold the fish for 30 years and has never had a problem.
Amberjack, and similar tropical fish, can be the source of ciguatera, a food poisoning caused by toxins within fish that eat other fish that have ingested toxic algae, sometimes called red tide.

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