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Public health warning - marine biotoxin in shellfish

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Community and Public Health division of West Coast District Health Board has issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested between Greymouth and Charleston along the West Coast.

Dr Ramon Pink, Medical Officer of Health, says routine tests on shellfish samples taken from the 12-Mile Bluff has shown levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins are above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI). Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

"Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten."

Dr Pink warns that cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin. Ongoing testing will continue, and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

"Symptoms of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning typically appear within half an hour and can last for 24 hours."

Symptoms may include:

Diarrhoea Vomiting Nausea Abdominal cramps

Dr Pink says if anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued phone your usual General Practice team 24/7 and they can advise what to do. If it’s an emergency, phone 111. You are also advised to contact Community and Public Health on (03) 768 1160 and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested."

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