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Buffalo Fish Brings Rare Disease To Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss.–Eating buffalo fish could be dangerous on very rare occasions. One Mississippi family is learning that today after three of them came down with Haff’s Disease, a rare illness associated with eating that type of fish.

The Miss. Dept. of Health did not say where in the state the family was from and did not say how serious their illnes was, but did give some facts about Haff’s.

First off, there have never been any deaths reported with the disease in Mississippi or the U.S. Second, these are apparently the first three cases ever reported in the Magnolia State, even though hundreds of people regularly catch and eat buffalo fish.

The disease is a muscle injury syndrome that causes pain, stiffness and rarely, kidney damage. It’s caused by an unidentified toxin in the fish and cooking buffalo fish thoroughly makes no difference.

Symptoms, which typically occur within 12 hours of consuming the fish, include muscle weakness and pain, dry mouth, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and dark urine. Intravenous fluids and other treatments can help resolve symptoms. Severe symptoms typically resolve quickly although some patients complain of fatigue for months following acute stages of the illness, said a Health Dept. news release.

The Health Dept. wants you to know that if you eat buffalo fish, even though cases are rare, you do run the risk of getting Haff’s.


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