Biotoxin in shellfish

A warning to not collect or eat shellfish has been placed by the Northland District Health Board which stretches along the West Coast from Taranaki to the Hokianga Harbour through to Tauroa Reef Point.

At this stage this warning does not include the inner Hokianga Harbour area.

The warning was prompted after shellfish collected within the area showed levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxins, significantly above the regulatory level.

Symptoms of PSP include: numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities; difficulty in swallowing or breathing, dizziness and double vision.

In severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure can occur within 12 hours of consuming shellfish.

“Cooking the shellfish does not remove the toxin” said medical officer of health at the Northland DHB, Dr Jose Ortega Benito.

“Anyone who becomes ill after eating shellfish should see a doctor or phone Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116. For emergencies, phone 111 for immediate medical help.”

Members of the public with any queries about shellfish safety can call the Whangarei Hospital on 09 430 4100 and request the on-call health protection officer.


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