Govt warns of toxic shellfish

West-coast shellfish, including mussels, oysters and perlemoen, should not be collected and eaten because they are toxic, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism warned again on Tuesday.

Tests on perlemoen collected over the weekend at Melkbosstrand had revealed low levels of a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, it said in a statement.

“We continue to recommend that the public do not collect and/or eat any shellfish, especially mussels, oysters and abalone, on the west coast (north of Cape Point) until further advised.”

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is caused by a microscopic aquatic organism taken up from the water by the shellfish. The first symptoms are a tingling, stinging or burning sensation of the lips, tongue and fingertips within 30 minutes of eating such shellfish.

“If these symptoms are experienced, a doctor should be consulted immediately,” the department advised.

The situation on the west coast would be continually monitored, it said.—Sapa

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