Most of the 26 cases (58 percent) followed the consumption of cooked buffalo fish
, Ictiobus cyprinellus, (n = 15) in California (n = 11), Missouri (n = 2), Texas (n = 2), and New York (n = 2) (Figure).
Haff disease is a swelling and breakdown of skeletal muscle thought to be caused by a toxin sometimes found in buffalo fish
in the Mississippi River.
We interviewed fish wholesalers regarding the number and location of fishermen catching buffalo fish
. Because fish eaten by the patients originated from Louisiana and Missouri, we discussed with health departments and environmental experts possible sources of fish intoxication.
Patients 1 and 2 On March 8, two Ukrainian sisters (patients 1 and 2), aged 70 and 73 years, respectively, and the husband of patient 2 (aged 75 years) ate fried buffalo fish
. Eight hours after the meal, patient 1 experienced neck pain followed by stiffness in her arms On arrival, emergency medical technicians noted both women were rigid, unable to move, and extremely sensitive even to light touch.
"In the 1950s, the Soil Conservation Service suggested that farmers raise buffalo fish
in rotation with their rice," Farmer says.
But if, once every forty days, you eat more than four ounces of catfish, carp, buffalo fish
, fresh water or sea trout, bass, chubs, bluefish, porgy, drum, or mackerel, you're above "average." Not very comforting.