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Seven people sick from toxic shellfish

Saturday 15 Dec 2012 5:08 p.m.

Five people were seen at Rotorua Hospital with toxic shellfish poisoning in the last 24 hours

Five people were seen at Rotorua Hospital with toxic shellfish poisoning in the last 24 hours

People are being reminded not to eat shellfish taken from parts of the Bay of Plenty coastline after seven people sought hospital treatment in a day.

Five people were seen at Rotorua Hospital and two at Tauranga Hospital with toxic shellfish poisoning in the last 24 hours, Bay of Plenty District Health Board said.

They had eaten shellfish collected from the coast between Mount Maunganui and Papamoa.

High levels of paralytic shellfish poison have been found in shellfish along much of the Bay of Plenty coastline since August.

Warnings are in place from Tairua on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, to Waihi Beach and Whakatane Heads in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

The warnings includes Tairua Harbour, Tauranga Harbour, Maketu and Waihi estuaries, Matakana and Motiti islands.

"We have had reports that people have been continuing to eat shellfish and have felt unwell after doing so," Phil Shoemack, the medical officer of health for the region said.

The cases seen at local hospitals were a stark reminder of the risk of ignoring the warnings, he said.

The toxins cause 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 are possible.

Symptoms usually occur within 12 hours.

NZN

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