Friday, September 11, 2009



Toxicity Level: There is a fifty percent mortality rate among pufferfish victims.

Location: The pufferfish is commonly found in warm or temperate regions around the world including the west coast of Central America, throughout the Indo-Pacific, around Japan, and from Australia to South Africa.

There are over ninety species of puffer-fish all belonging to the family Tetraodontidae. When disturbed, the fish inflates itself and becomes globular in form. The poison, tetraodontoxin, is found in the ovaries of the pufferfish and is not destroyed by cooking. However, the pufferfish is usually harmless if the entrails completely are removed and the if cavity is washed thoroughly prior to cooking.

Effects and Symptoms: Difficulty talking, and rapid onset of paralysis of the respiratory system, followed by paralysis of the central nervous system. The cause of death is most often convulsions or respiratory arrest, which occur within one to two hours of ingesting the poison.

Case Study: This toxin was used in the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow to slow the respiration of the victim so that it appeared as if he was dead. After a quick burial, the victim was exhumed and continued to be fed the drug at a lesser dose so that while his body functioned, his mind did not. As a result, he became a zombie or "the living dead."


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