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Toxic Shellfish Warnings Lifted for Monterey County

Written by Karen Smith on . Posted in Front Page, News

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has lifted toxic shellfish health advisories for Tomales Bay and Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. The advisories, issued between December of last year and February of this year, had warned consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish due to dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Recent tests indicate shellfish in these areas are now safe to consume.

The lifted advisories include:

December 16, 2016: Monterey County
December 22, 2016: San Luis Obispo County
February 8, 2017: Tomales Bay

All three advisories warned people not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as mussels, clams or whole scallops), or the internal organs of crab (viscera) from those areas. While there have been no reported illnesses associated with these events, dangerous levels of PSP, a naturally occurring toxin, can cause illness or death.

Advisories remain in effect for the consumption of sport-harvested bivalve shellfish or crab viscera from Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties.

PSP toxins affect the central nervous system, producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.

For current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page.

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