Published Date: 2012-08-14 13:51:56
Subject: PRO/EDR> Diarrheal shellfish poisoning - Ireland: (west) alert
Archive Number: 20120814.1243602
DIARRHEAL SHELLFISH POISONING - IRELAND: ALERT
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 14 Aug 2012
Source: Irish Times [edited]
About a dozen people have become ill with suspected food poisoning in recent weeks after gathering mussels and other shellfish from the shoreline in parts of the west and south west coast. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) warned locals and holidaymakers visiting these areas of dangers of gathering and consuming wild shellfish growing on the seashore.
It said there had been over 10 reports of illness in Galway, Mayo, and Sligo in the past number of weeks. It suspects the reports are linked to harmful algal blooms occurring naturally along these parts of the coast.
Bivalve shellfish such as mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles, and clams should only be purchased from reputable suppliers and not gathered in the wild, the authority said.
"Commercial producers of shellfish operate under a sophisticated national monitoring program which manages the risks, with test results issued by the Marine Institute on an ongoing basis and a weekly status report is provided for bays where commercial harvesting of shellfish has been suspended because of high biotoxin levels."
It said that if people gathered their own shellfish, they needed to be aware of the risks they were taking.
FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said some residents and visitors engaged in the recreational gathering of shellfish in the region may be unaware of the dangers of consuming the shellfish they come across.
"Wild shellfish found along the west coast may contain naturally occurring toxins that cannot be removed through cooking alone," he said. "Eating shellfish contaminated with these toxins can lead to people suffering nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. The effects are not life-threatening but can be particularly severe for older people, young children, and people who may already be ill from another medical condition."
Authorities in Donegal temporarily closed 2 beaches recently after discolored reddish-brown water was observed along large stretches of the coastline. The phenomenon was due to algal bloom known as _Karenia mikimotoi_ along the north west coast. Some oyster farms reported losses of between 20 per cent and 80 per cent of their products. In its latest update, the Marine Institute said the bloom had finally began to subside.
[Diarrheal shellfish poisoning (DSP) symptoms usually begin within 30 minutes to 12 hours after eating the contaminated shellfish. Diarrhea is the commonest symptom, but other symptoms that have been reported to public health officials are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and headache.
DSP is often mistaken for Norwalk-like virus disease. It is treated with rehydration and affected individuals usually recover in 1-2 days. DSP is most commonly found in the shellfish in Europe and Japan but can appear anywhere. - Mod.LL
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Ireland can be seen at http://healthmap.org/r/1z-x. The counties mentioned can be seen on the map at http://www.spirited-ireland.net/map/_counties/ireland_map22.gif. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]