Tectus niloticus (Tegulidae, Gastropod) as a Novel Vector of Ciguatera Poisoning: Clinical Characterization and Follow-Up of a Mass Poisoning Event in Nuku Hiva Island (French Polynesia)

Clémence Mahana Iti Gatti, Davide Lonati, Hélène Taiana Darius, Arturo Zancan, Mélanie Roué, Azzurra Schicchi, Carlo Alessandro Locatelli, Mireille Chinain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is the most prevalent non-bacterial food-borne form of poisoning in French Polynesia, which results from the consumption of coral reef fish naturally contaminated with ciguatoxins produced by dinoflagellates in the genus Gambierdiscus. Since the early 2000s, this French territory has also witnessed the emergence of atypical forms of ciguatera, known as ciguatera shellfish poisoning (CSP), associated with the consumption of marine invertebrates. In June 2014, nine tourists simultaneously developed a major and persistent poisoning syndrome following the consumption of the gastropod Tectus niloticus collected in Anaho, a secluded bay of Nuku Hiva Island (Marquesas Archipelago, French Polynesia). The unusual nature and severity of this event prompted a multidisciplinary investigation in order to characterize the etiology and document the short/long-term health consequences of this mass-poisoning event. This paper presents the results of clinical investigations based on hospital medical records, medical follow-up conducted six and 20 months post-poisoning, including a case description. This study is the first to describe the medical signature of T. niloticus poisoning in French Polynesia and contributed to alerting local authorities about the potential health hazards associated with the consumption of this gastropod, which is highly prized by local communities in Pacific island countries and territories.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 2018


Cite this