Popular aquarium coral can be toxic to humans

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CDC: Popular Aquarium Coral Can Be Toxic To Humans


Aquarium coral may be beautiful to look at, but some can be toxic to humans and animals.

In mid-August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, released a report describing one incident where an Anchorage man was admitted to the emergency room only hours after a new zoanthid coral was brought into his home.

The palytoxin contained in at least some of these corals was thought to be the culprit, as his symptoms of a fever, cough, and muscle pain were consistent with exposure.

Even though neither he nor his roommates touched the organism, which is the most common method of poisoning, researchers suspect that small pieces broken off during the transfer released the toxic and noticeable mist in the air that made them sick.

Employees at the store where the zoanthid was purchased and a number of other Alaskan residents have been documented with similar coral-related health problems.

Thus far, no known regulations exist in the U.S. to manage the trade of these sometimes dangerous corals, nor have guidelines been provided about their safe handling.

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