The Epidemiology and Surveillance of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Schneider, Evan
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University of Guelph

Innovative ways to conduct disease surveillance are required to address the complexity of Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP). Mixed methods were employed to explore CFP epidemiology and interdisciplinary approaches to its surveillance in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Quantitative analyses of cross-sectional data collected by the TCI’s National Epidemiology and Research Unit in 2010 demonstrated that a low percentage of residents reported lifetime histories of illness following fish consumption (3.9%). Furthermore, gender, age, island, and home remedy use were significantly associated with reported clinic visitation by ill individuals. Next, a multisectoral CFP surveillance model was conceptualized. A qualitative exploration of the model’s hypothetical integration into TCI’s health system revealed that several systemic and contextual factors could influence the future uptake of interdisciplinary CFP surveillance. Targeted interventions are recommended to improve national CFP surveillance and to facilitate the growth of interdisciplinary networks between stakeholders from TCI’s health, fisheries and environment sectors.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, Disease surveillance, Epidemiology, Health system intervention, Health-seeking behaviour, Turks and Caicos Islands, Seafood safety, Multisectoral approach, Logistic regression, Cross-sectional study, Explorative study, Framework analysis