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PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING: Potential deadly illness in local seafood

THE Sunshine Coast community is under risk of widespread food poisoning from yellowfin tuna bought at local fish markets.

The Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit issued a statement advising the public of potential risk of scombroid (histamine) illness after eating tuna bought from the Mooloolaba Fish Markets.

The warning relates only to yellowfin tuna bought over the weekend on February 10 or 11. 

Scombroid is a type of food poisoning that happens after eating spoiled or decayed fish.

In 2014, an Australian mother and daughter travelling in Bali were believed to have succumbed to the disease and died after eating decaying fish. 

"The Public Health Unit has received a small number of notifications of people with symptoms," the statement said. 

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health physician Dr Andrew Langley said the yellowfin tuna should not be eaten.

"Scombroid may arise from the breakdown of certain types of fish after death," Dr Langley said via statement.

"Once the fish has elevated levels of histamine, cooking, refrigeration or freezing won't prevent illness if it is eaten.

"Symptoms of scombroid (histamine) illness usually occur within a few minutes to an hour of consuming the contaminated fish."

The list of common symptoms to look for: 

  • Skin flushing or a rash, particularly of the head, neck and upper chest/back
  • Burning sensation of the mouth/throat
  • Itching
  • High heart rate
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Stomach cramps/diarrhoea.

Most people recover well without treatment usually within 2-3 hours or as long as 12 hours.

Anybody concerned they may have scombroid (histamine) illness were urged to seek medical advice.

Topics:  editors picks public health seafood

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