FDA Issues Urgent Warning Over Paralytic Toxins

(NationRise.com) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking proactive steps to protect Americans by warning them to avoid consuming certain types of shellfish from Oregon and Washington. These shellfish could be filled with a toxin that causes paralysis, and the FDA is ensuring that this information reaches the public.

The warning primarily covers bay clams and oysters that were harvested from Tillamook Bay and Netarts Bay. Specifically, the affected mollusks are those packaged from May 28th in Oregon and May 26th to May 30th in Washington’s Willapa Bay.

The warning was also sent to restaurants and grocery stores that sell seafood products. Those retailers are primarily located in western states, including Arizona, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. However, some were also shipped to New York. All retailers are being asked to properly dispose of any potentially contaminated shellfish products they have.

The mollusks were contaminated by a naturally occurring toxin frequently found in their local environment. It stems from phytoplankton, a type of aquatic algae that grows in the region. Local wildlife tends to become more contaminated when the algae blooms, but it can still happen with low concentrations. The algae builds up in the affected creature’s skin, making it easy for humans to ingest. Consuming those toxins may lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).

PSP happens when neurotoxins or saxitoxins cause distress in the gastrointestinal system and may eventually attack the neurological system. Most patients report feeling a sensation of floating during the early signs. Humans can typically recover from the condition on their own, but the paralysis sometimes affects the respiratory system and causes asphyxiation. Shellfish skin can retain the toxins for long periods of time.

Other symptoms typically set in within 30 minutes. Tingling sensations in and around the mouth are common—numbness of limbs, including the “pins and needles” feeling, set in soon after. Patients may also begin to feel weak and unable to coordinate their muscles. Nausea, headache, vertigo, and breathing difficulties may also occur. Most patients who survived a full day are likely to recover without any lingering effects. The FDA recommends that anyone experiencing any of these symptoms seek medical help to avoid possible asphyxiation. The toxins can impact those with no shellfish allergies.

The FDA said that it will continue to monitor shellfish harvested from the region.

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