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Holiday Illness Claims Seafood Victims

Simpson Millar is a specialist law firm comprising of Holiday Solicitors who claim compensation for victims of illness and sickness caused by food poisoning which has occurred abroad during holidays.

About Seafood Food Poisoning

Seafood or fish food poisoning is an issue that Simpson Millar’s Holiday Illness Solicitors believe is underestimated by holidaymakers who are dining on meals consisting of exotic fish and shellfish abroad.

For most the experience of a barracuda steak or gigantic prawn will be treasured but for some the experience will have a devastating effect they will live with for the rest of their natural lives.

Nick Harris, Head of Holiday Claims at Simpson Millar Solicitors believes that unsuspecting holidaymakers should be made more aware of the potential risk they are exposed to when abroad particularly in developing countries such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica where the natural climate and waters increase the risk of fish - food poisoning.

“I have become more concerned by stories I hear from people who have contacted me after suffering quite horrendous illness during holiday abroad."

"Toxic poisoning is an increasing problem in fish and seafood harvested from waters that contain toxins and where the hot climate causes fish to decay at an accelerated rate releasing toxins which when ingested can attack the gut, the brain and the heart."

"Another problem is bacterial poisoning. Shellfish filter bacterium which is often caused by raw human sewage being pumped in to the sea. Shellfish feed off raw sewage which is then ingested unwittingly by people who enjoy, for example, raw shellfish such as oysters.”

Marine Toxins that Cause Illness

Food poisoning happens when shellfish and fish release toxins.

Toxins are small organisms found mainly in tropical and sub-tropical seas and near coral reefs.

Shellfish and small fish ingest these toxins filtering algae and plankton and the toxins then find their way up the food chain when the smaller fish are consumed by larger fish such as Sea Bass and Red Snapper.

The symptoms of fish - food poisoning may be confused with an allergy but the toxins are relentless and cause damage to the human gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiovascular systemically.

The toxins have no odour and are tasteless. Cooking does not typically affect them.

There are two specific types holidaymakers travelling to exotic places should be wary of.

Ciguatera Fish - Food Poisoning

The most common form of food poisoning by toxins released by shellfish and fish cause the following symptoms and are often present within a few hours:

  • Vomiting and sickness
  • Stomach cramps and diarrhoea
  • Headaches and aching muscles
  • Sweating and feeling of burning
  • Weakness and dizzy spells

Other reported symptoms are nightmares and bizarrely temperature reversal where the infected person will report that hot surfaces feel cold to touch and vice-versa.

Death is rare but has been recorded when the symptoms cause the cardiovascular system to collapse.

Scombroid Fish Food Poisoning

A second form of poisoning occurs through fish that emit histimine when they have not been refrigerated as soon as possible after their catch.

Tuna and mackerel (members of the Scombridae family) are common fish associated with Scrombroid.

Warm temperatures cause the fish to decay rapidly which accelerates the release of histimine.

Someone who has contracted this infection will develop a flushed appearance. They may complain of terrible headaches and an erratic heartbeat. They will typically suffer chronic diarrhoea and painful stomach cramps.

Some infections can cause partial paralysis with complaints of pins and needles.

They symptoms of Scombroid food poisoning can appear within minutes of the infected fish being consumed.

Shellfish Food Poisoning

Toxins are responsible for poisoning and foods such as oysters and mussels that are often eaten raw are known to be high risk.

Shellfish filter toxin containing algae and toxins that live on seaweed and also absorb bacteria that is found in polluted water, where for example raw sewage escapes.

Some other examples of crustaceans and mollusks that harbor bacteria and toxins are crabs, clams, lobsters, scallops and cockles.

There are three or four main types of poisoning associated with mollusks and crustaceans.

Paralytic Poisoning and Neurotoxic Poisoning

Occurring usually in minutes symptoms include:

  • Pins and needles in the arms, legs and mouth
  • Numb areas of the body
  • Loss of balance and mental co-ordination
  • Pains in muscles and joints
  • Diarrhoea

Victims of this strain of toxic infection typically make a full recovery within 2 or 3 days.

Diarrheic Poisoning

Diarrhoea and vomiting typically happens within half and hour to four hours of consuming contaminated shellfish. Symptoms generally resolve after 3 days and infected people usually make a complete recovery.


Permanent loss of memory, seizures, respiratory failure, paralysis and even death are known to occur from this form of shellfish poisoning which typically happens inside 24 hours of contaminated food being eaten and commences with symptoms of sickness, diarrhoea, confusion and headaches.

Nick Harris advises anyone who enjoys seafood to be particularly vigilant when abroad and avoid shellfish that has been harvested in waters that are potentially infected.

If you have been affected by food poisoning on holiday abroad then contact Nick or his team of expert Holiday Illness Claims Solicitors. You can claim substantial compensation if your holiday was ruined by sickness caused by contaminated food served at your foreign hotel.

Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or drop us a line using the form above.

Useful Information:

Dated: 15/03/2011


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