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Acute ackee fruit intoxication

Synonym(s) Acute akee fruit intoxication
Acute intoxication by Blighia sapida
Jamaican vomiting sickness
Jamaican vomiting syndrome
Prevalence Unknown
Inheritance Not applicable
Age of onset All ages
  • T62.2
MeSH -
MedDRA -


Disease definition

Acute ackee fruit intoxication (also referred to as Jamaican vomiting syndrome or sickness) is caused by the ingestion of unripe Blighia sapida fruits. It is a serious intoxication that is frequent in certain countries in the Caribbean and Western Africa. In contrast, it is rare in France and other Western countries. Intoxication leads to toxic hypoglycaemia and inhibition of neoglucogenesis. The hypoglycaemia is caused by the effect of hypoglycin A, which is found in the arils.

Clinical description

The clinical manifestations are severe (coma, convulsions, delirium, toxic hepatitis, acute dehydration and a state of shock) and may lead to death.

Management and treatment

Treatment is symptomatic (administration of glucose, IV or per os).


Although the intoxication is generally benign or has a favourable outcome, ingestion of large doses may lead to death: ackee fruit intoxication lead to 29 deaths in 1998 and more than 50 in 2001.

Expert reviewer(s)

  • Pr Bruno MÉGARBANE
  • Dr Dabor RÉSIÈRE

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