July 22, 2024

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Sickens 20 From Mussels in OR

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) has sickened at least 20 people after eating mussels harvested between the Washington border and Seal Rock State Park, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Anyone who harvested mussels from Short Beach near Oceanside, Hug Point, and near Seaside should immediately discard them. Only recreationally harvested mussels are problematic. This warning does not apply to mussels that were harvested commercially and purchased at a grocery store or a restaurant.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Sickens 20 From Mussels in WA

PSP is caused by saxitoxins that are produced by marine algae. People get sick by eating shellfish contaminated with this naturally occurring biotoxin. Shellfish that can be contaminated with this toxin include scallops, clams, mussels, cockles, and oysters, along with some types of fish and crabs.

There is no antidote for PSP. Treatment consists of supportive care and some people may need respiratory support. PSP is the most common and severe form of shellfish poisoning. It is most common in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America.

Symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning usually appear just 30 to 60 minutes after eating contaminated shellfish. Symptoms include numbness and tingling of the face, lips, tongue, arms, and legs. People may also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. Severe cases have symptoms of poor muscle control, clumsiness, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, loose or floppy limbs, mental stats changes, and respiratory failure. This poisoning can be deadly, especially for children.

Government officials say that any9one who is experiencing those symptoms should immediately contact a doctor. You can call the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. All 20 people who got sick said they ate recreationally harvested mussels that were harvested on May 25 or 26, 2024, at Short Beach near Oceanside in Tillamook County, and Hug Point and near Seaside in Clatsop County. Some patients have been hospitalized.

Emilio DeBess, epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health Division’s Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section said in a statement, “We have two messages: If you have any mussels gathered since Saturday from beaches within the area of coastline that ODFW and ODA closed to harvesting – that you are preparing for a meal or keeping in the freezer for a later time – throw them out now and do not feed them to pets. And if you have eaten any of these mussels and are feeling ill, see a doctor right away.”

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