Ichthyohemotoxic Fishes

  • Laith A. Jawad


Ichthyohemotoxin is the toxin in eel serum and is known also as fish serum toxin. Drinking fresh serum of eels may result in systemic symptoms (e.g., diarrhoea, vomiting, cyanosis, irregular pulse, and respiratory distress) and eventually in death. Because such systemic symptoms are unlikely to occur under normal circumstances, eel serum toxins are not considered a hazard from the viewpoint of food hygiene. However, local inflammatory responses are induced in individuals whose tongue or eye is touched with fresh eel serum. Oral symptoms are burning, redness of the mucosa, and hypersalivation and ocular symptoms consist of severe burning, lacrimation, and redness of the conjunctivae and swelling of the eyelids. A sensation as if a foreign body were present in the eye may persist for several days.

In this chapter an account is given of the background of the toxin , the causative agent, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laith A. Jawad
    • 1
  1. 1.ManukauNew Zealand

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