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Saturday, June 08, 2013
Red Tide toxin is still found in Shellfish

The Sabah Fisheries Department announced that shellfish samples gathered from various parts of the state still contain a dangerous level of red tide toxin. The department’s Director Rayner Stuel Galid said results have revealed that toxicity level have remained within a detrimental 700 MU (Mouse Unit), 300 MU higher than the level considered to be safe for humans. “The consumption of shellfish containing red tide toxin causes food poisoning and can be fatal,” warned Rayner. “Only the Fisheries Department can detect the presence of the toxin in shellfish and tests are conducted in our specialized labs. Toxins cannot be detected by mere sight, smell or taste, nor can they be removed by thorough rinsing or cooking, ” he said. Red tide is a common term used for the harmful algal bloom (HAB). HABs occur when the colonies of simple ocean plants or algae’s growth go out of control. A single cell can result in the reproduction of several hundred cells and the ideal water conditions will cause the production of toxins that may debilitate humans. These toxins kill fish and make shellfish unsafe for consumption. The bloom also often turns the water red, hence the term “red tide”. According to Rayner, the recent spells of hot and wet weather have prolonged the period of the red tide phenomenon in Sabah. The phenomenon was first traced in November last year, and clam samples gathered from Kuala Penyu, Tuaran, Sipitang and the coastline of Kota Kinabalu City showed higher levels of toxins in March this year. Members of the public have been advised to abstain from selling and consuming any type of shellfish or bivalves such as oysters, mussels, cockles, clams or crustaceans like lobsters, shrimps and crabs. Tingling or prickling sensation in the mouth and tongue, headache, nausea are symptoms of red tide poisoning or Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). Symptoms may progress from numbness to the loss of control of limbs leading to respiratory failure. The onset of toxic symptoms is rapid and the initial symptoms usually occur within two hours of consumption. Immediate medical attention must be sought. The red tide has so far claimed three lives in Sabah. Source: Insight Sabah

 
 
 

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