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North Island west coast shellfish warning

Monday 19 Nov 2012 4:21p.m.

North Island west coast shellfish warning

Shellfish caught along much of the North Island's west coast, including two Auckland harbours, shouldn't be eaten as it may be poisonous, warn health officials.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) issued a warning today saying shellfish caught between Mohakatino in Taranaki and Maunganui Bluff in Northland, including Manukau and Kaipara harbours, shouldn't be eaten.

Medical officer of health Dr Simon Baker says tests found high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) present in shellfish in these areas.

Shellfish including kina, mussels, toheroa, pipi, tuatua, oysters, cockles and scallops taken from these areas shouldn't be consumed.

Cooking shellfish doesn't remove the toxin.

Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be eaten, however the gut should be removed before cooking.

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

In severe cases the poison can cause paralysis and respiratory failure.

Symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of consuming contaminated shellfish and those who become ill are advised to contact a doctor.


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