There were five victims of neurotoxic food poisoning from a dried dressed fish fillet in Changhua County, Taiwan, in February 2000. The toxicity of the dried dressed fish fillets was 243 mouse units per g according to a tetrodotoxin bioassay. The partially purified toxin was identified as tetrodotoxin and anhydrotetrodotoxin. The sequence of the 376-nucleotide region in the cytochrome b gene of the mitochondrial DNA exhibited the same genotype as that of the toxic puffer fish Lagocephalus lunaris. The same single restriction site for HinfI was found in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products from the dried dressed fish fillet and the muscle of L. lunaris, yielding two DNA fragments of 170 and 206 bp. However, no restriction site for HinfI was found in the PCR products from other toxic puffer fishes, including Takifugu niphobles, Takifugu oblongus, and Takifugu rubripes. Therefore, the species of the dried dressed fish fillet was identified as L. lunaris and its causative agent was identified as tetrodotoxin.

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