Allergic reactions typically affect one person who has a history of allergy to the implicated food item. However, with scombroid poisoning, more than one person, often with no history of allergies, may be affected.
This means that, if more than a handful of people consumed the same fish, we would expect more than one person to get sick. Scombroid food poisoning is NOT an Allergic reaction!
Cooking kills the bacteria, but toxins remain in the tissue of the fish and can be absorbed after the fish has been consumed.
It is the spoilage of the fish meat that causes the disease, not living bacteria. Thus the bacteria have to be present through contamination and allowed to grow via breaks in the cold chain. Once they have been allowed to produce the toxin cooking is essentially useless.
Scombroid food poisoning is frequently encountered if dead fish remain in set nets during warm sea temperatures and/or the fish is improperly refrigerated or when refrigeration is delayed.
The process of scombroid food poisoning is caused by enzymes produced by enteric gram-negative bacteria (e.g., Morganella morganii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) found in the fish’s intestines.
Scombroid poisoning occurs worldwide. Fish typically associated with it include tuna, mackerel, mahimahi, sardines, anchovies, herring, bluefish, amberjack, and marlin. Thus, avoiding these fish is likely the best way to eliminate the risk.
Some Individuals Are More Prone to Scombroid Food Poisoning Than Others
Studies have shown that histamine-intolerant individuals may have a deficiency of the enzyme, diamine oxidase, in the small intestinal mucosa, resulting in the decreased breakdown, and increased absorption of histamine in the gut. Resulting in a higher risk of food poisoning.