Grant Will Fund Seafood Poisoning Research

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) — The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has announced a $4 million grant to research causes of the world’s most common seafood poisoning.

The five-year grant will allow scientists to investigate ciguatera fish poisoning, the most common form of algal toxin-induced seafood poisoning in the world, focusing on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, a NOAA release said.

Affecting tens of thousands of people annually, outbreaks have been impossible to predict and manage, researchers said.

“Ciguatera is of great concern to people who prefer or depend on reef fish in their diets,” said Michael Parsons, director of the Coastal Watershed Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University who will lead the international research team. “Anything we can do to lessen illnesses by reducing the exposure to the toxins that cause ciguatera would be a great benefit to the consumer.”

Researchers said they hope the research project will lead to better predictions of ciguatera outbreaks.

Scientists from the United States and Mexico will take part in the research, NOAA said.

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