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CDPH Updates Warning about Shellfish from Humboldt and Del Norte Counties 

Date: 12/9/2015 
Number: 15-089 
Contact: Anita Gore, Orville Thomas (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO – California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today updated the warning regarding certain seafood caught in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. All bivalve shellfish except razor clams have been removed from the current health advisories. Recent samples have shown that the levels of domoic acid have declined and are non-detectable in mussels from this region. Advisories continue to be in place for:  

  • Consumers to avoid eating recreationally and commercially caught Dungeness and Rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon border and the southern Santa Barbara County line. This is due to the persistent dangerous levels of domoic acid in these species.
  • Consumers to avoid eating razor clams from Humboldt or Del Norte counties. Razor clams can retain domoic acid for a long period of time and remain at dangerous levels for this toxin.
Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a ‘bloom’ of a particular single-celled plant. The conditions that support the growth of this plant are impossible to predict. CDPH will continue its efforts to collect a variety of samples from these areas to monitor the level of domoic acid in seafood. 

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory (a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this event. 

To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information visit CDPH’s Natural Marine Toxins: PSP and Domoic Acid Web page and CDPH’s Domoic Acid health information page
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