Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Public Health Warning On Sea Slugs Remains In Force On All Auckland Beaches

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Public Health Warning On Sea Slugs Remains In Force On All Auckland Beaches

With school holidays and daylight savings beginning this weekend, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is reminding beach-going families to keep each other, their children, and their pets safe from toxic sea slugs on Auckland beaches.

"We continue to advise caution to beach goers to avoid touching or handling sea slugs at all beaches across the Auckland region," says ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Simon Baker.

"With the small size of sea slugs, beach-goers need to be mindful of little children and what they may pick up at the beach.

"We want people to enjoy our beautiful coastline but keep in mind this potential on-going risk to children and pets."

The current public health warning is: Sea slugs on any beach must be avoided. If you find one, mark the spot, leave well alone, phone the city or district council and ask for an environmental health officer, who will collect the slug safely.

Children and pets need to be supervised on ALL Auckland beaches, not just those bordering the Hauraki Gulf. Adults, children and pets should not eat anything found washed up on any beach. Parents need to be aware of where their children are swimming or playing, and what they are handling.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Simon Baker says with the warmer weather, more and more people will start heading to the beaches and coastlines around Auckland.

"We are reminding people that the public health warnings are still in place, and to be cautious about what they handle on the shoreline.

"We very much appreciate people's co-operation with the public health warnings."

What to do if you find a sea slug? If you find one, mark the spot, leave it alone, phone your city or district council and ask for an environmental health officer who will collect the slug safely.

The toxin in sea slugs TTX is known to be a potent poison found in tropical puffer fish, but not previously described in sea slugs. TTX is extremely toxic to humans, and even a tiny dose would be fatal. Pleurobranchia maculata sea slugs are a wide-ranging organism in the marine environment of New Zealand. They can grow up to 10cm in length, but are typically 2cm to 4cm.

They are mottled-grey or sand coloured, and usually found near the low tide mark. Sea slugs may be found washed up on beaches anytime, anywhere - probably related to their breeding cycle and the prevailing weather. A sea slug washed up recently on Cornwallis Beach on the Manukau Harbour. This sea slug tested positive for TTX.

Symptoms of TTX Poisoning Early symptoms of TTX poisoning include numbness and tingling around the mouth, and nausea. This numbness and tingling can then spread to the face, tongue and other areas, with paralysis, in co-ordination and slurred speech.

Medical attention should be sought immediately should any person become unwell after going to the beach - particularly after contact with a sea slug. Information on First Aid Response for Tetrodotoxin (TTX) Poisoning is available on the ARPHS website at www.arphs.govt.nz.

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.