Venomous fish injuries along the Israeli Mediterranean coast: Scope and characterization

Simcha Gweta, Ehud Spanier, Yedidia Bentur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Due to extensive activity at sea, certain human populations, especially fishermen, are exposed to direct contact with the sea's inhabitants, including dangerous marine animals. Objectives: To characterize and assess the extent of injuries caused by marine organisms along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, their type, severity and the medical treatment given. Methods: Data were obtained from a survey on injuries from marine organisms conducted among professional fishermen along the Mediterranean coast of Israel and from medical records reporting toxicological consultations provided by the Israel Poison Information Center. Results: Injuries caused by marine organisms are not rare in Israel, but most cases are not severe. The most common injuries reported by fishermen were caused by stingrays (30%), weever fish (22%), rabbit fish (13%), and marine catfish (10%) - a new Red Sea immigrant. Most fishermen tend to treat such injuries themselves and sought medical help only when an unknown venomous fish was involved. Most cases of severe toxicity were due to secondary infection. Data from the IPIC indicated that 64% of the calls were from the general public and the rest came from physicians in health care facilities. Four sources of injuries were identified: cleaning and preparing fish for consumption, during leisure water sport activities, handling marine aquaria, and fishing. Most cases from the IPIC were graded as minor severity (85%) and were treated symptomatically. Conclusions: We recommend that medical facilities be installed at the fishing anchorages and that a separate category be established for injuries by marine organisms to facilitate epidemiological data collection from health care facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-788
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Fish
  • Fishermen
  • Marine
  • Southeastern Mediterranean
  • Toxic
  • Venomous organisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Venomous fish injuries along the Israeli Mediterranean coast: Scope and characterization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this