Although coral in home aquariums may make for a beautiful addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it can also bring added danger. The CDC is now warning of a little-known risk that comes with keeping corals after 10 recent cases of palytoxin poisoning occurred in Alaska, reports ABC News.
The CDC recently released a report saying several people have become ill from palytoxin poisoning from exposure to zoanthid corals. The report states that some patients have required medical attention after being exposed to the airborne toxin, which causes people to get sick with symptoms including fever, nausea, joint and muscle pain and difficulty breathing.
Mario Tango was one of these people affected by the poisons after he was exposed to the toxin released by coral in his home aquarium, LiftBump reports. Tango and his wife both began feeling ill when he removed a piece of coral from his tank and boiled it, he says.
“My wife was complaining her chest hurts and she was laboring breathing,” Tango told ABC News. “I was laboring breathing. The dogs were too and I knew something was up at that point but I did not know what.”
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The couple sought treatment at the emergency room and have since recovered from the poisoning. Now, Tango says he has learned more about his hobby and how to stay safe.
Although the CDC says there are no evidence-based recommendations for the best protective gear to use, it's important to take precautions when handling coral that could be toxic. Wearing gloves, decontaminating any affected surfaces and using extreme care are all recommended.
The CDC cautions that not all aquarium stores carry warning signs alerting customers that zoanthid corals may be toxic. There are also no government regulations requiring labeling or testing of these corals, LiftBump reported.