A Bradenton family is home Friday night after being hospitalized after eating toxic fish during a trip to the Bahamas. They're battling cigautera fish poisoning, which can be deadly.
Family and friends who flew to the Bahamas to rescue their sick loved ones say the family caught and ate a reef fish that was contaminated with toxins from what it had eaten.
"This toxin accumulates up the food chain. It occurs in tropical areas of the world, and coral reef," said professor Steven Murawski from the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science.
He said to avoid getting the illness you should avoid eating barracuda, trigger fish, grouper, sea bass and snapper.
Murawski adds that getting this form of poisoning is not likely in the Bay area. "It's not that it is unheard of here - but it is extremely rare."
The case of the sick family was a shock to the people they know in Bradenton.
"It's mind-blowing," Christina Martin says of her mother and brother who were poisoned. She flew down with a family friend f to make sure they got home safely.
"The brain is swelling - that causes the confusion. We finally get to ICU Austin (Goncalves) is seizing - her mother barely recognizes us," said friend Ken Channer.
Murawski says to avoid such a scare people should avoid eating fish from unknown water. "My advice: Eat the fish at restaurants, fish markets -- catch and release!"
He says cigautera is colorless and odorless. Experts say the state monitors for it here and when there are outbreaks there are cautions against fishing.
The family has 30 thousand dollars in medical bills because of this. There is a way YOU CAN HELP: there is an upcoming fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 2 at Blue Marlin Grill, in Bradenton.
There is a way for people to help the family with their expenses. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 2, there will be a benefit or the family at the Blue Marlin Grill, 121 Bridge St. in Bradenton.
If people cannot make it to the fundraiser, they can donate on this website.
A family from Bradenton is home after getting sick eating fish they caught in the Bahamas.