Anita Gore, Heather Bourbeau (916) 440-7259
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is lifting the December 20, 2013 health advisory warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (i.e., mussels, clams and scallops) from the Los Angeles County coastline between Cabrillo Point and the Los Angeles-Orange county line. Recent testing shows levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have declined to safe or undetectable levels. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. There have been no reports of human poisoning from PSP in California during this advisory period. PSP poisoning can create 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. This season’s unusual PSP activity outside of the traditional mussel quarantine period, May through October, highlights the importance of being aware of restrictions that may be in effect. The CDPH Biotoxin Information Line (1-800-553-4133) provides updates on current quarantines and health advisories throughout the year. CDPH’s ability to protect the public from dangerous PSP toxins is due in large part to the numerous organizations and volunteers that collect shellfish samples for testing. Those who are interested in taking part in this important monitoring program should email RedTide@cdph.ca.gov or call 1-800-553-4133. CDPH can provide the necessary training and equipment for collecting and shipping samples.
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