FDA Warns of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in Pacific Northwest

(VitalNews.org) – The Federal Drug Administration has warned about the current paralytic shellfish poisoning that’s linked to the Pacific Northwest. The FDA says that consumers shouldn’t eat shellfish from Oregon and Washington as they could be contaminated with toxins. According to health officials, just over thirty people have been sick in Oregon so far due to the shellfish.

They’ve recommended people avoid oysters and bay clams that were harvested from Netarss and Tillamook bays in Oregon, as well as shellfish that were harvested from Willapa Bay in Washington. They have warned that they could be contaminated with paralytic shellfish poisoning or PSP. PSP is a naturally occurring toxin that is produced by algae in the water which then can affect shellfish and other animals in the water.

It’s said that those who eat shellfish that are affected can start feeling sick within thirty minutes to one hour of eating it. According to the health agency, there is no cure or antidote for PSP, and in extreme cases, treatment could include using ventilators.

A large “algae bloom” has caused extreme levels of these toxins along Oregon’s coast, according to Matthew Hunter, shellfish program manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Elevated levels of these toxins were first discovered in shellfish on the Oregon coast and since then over thirty people have been affected by it. The Oregon Health Authority has told people who have harvested or eaten shellfish from Oregon to fill out a survey that will be used to help authorities identify the cause of the outbreak.

The coastlines in both Oregon and Washington have been closed to harvesting clams and mussels, as well as all other shellfish. Experts have said that it may take weeks, months, or possibly even up to a year for the toxins level to go back down to normal.

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