Social ecological analysis of an outbreak of pufferfish egg poisoning in a coastal area of Bangladesh

M. Saiful Islam, Stephen P. Luby, Mahmudur Rahman, Shahana Parveen, Nusrat Homaira, Nur Har Begum, A. K.M.Dawlat Khan, Rebeca Sultana, Shammi Akhter, Emily Gurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recurrent outbreaks of marine pufferfish poisoning in Bangladesh highlight the need to understand the context in which the outbreaks occurred. In a recent outbreak investigation, a multidisciplinary team conducted a mixed-method study to identify the demography and clinical manifestation of the victims and to explore different uses of pufferfish, and local buying, selling, and processing practices. The outbreak primarily affected a low income household where an elderly woman collected and cooked pufferfish egg curry. Nine persons consumed the curry, and symptoms developed in 6 (67%) of these persons. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, paresis, and tingling sensation; 2 (22%) persons died. The unstable income of the affected family, food crisis, and the public disposal of unsafe pufferfish byproducts all contributed to the outbreak. A multi-level intervention should be developed and disseminated with the participation of target communities to discourage unsafe discarding of pufferfish scraps and to improve the community knowledge about the risk of consuming pufferfish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

Cite this

Islam, M. S., Luby, S. P., Rahman, M., Parveen, S., Homaira, N., Begum, N. H., Khan, A. K. M. D., Sultana, R., Akhter, S., & Gurley, E. (2011). Social ecological analysis of an outbreak of pufferfish egg poisoning in a coastal area of Bangladesh. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 85(3), 498-503.