More NZ shellfish poisoning cases reported
The number of people affected by paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin has increased by seven since Tuesday. In total, 27 people have been poisoned by eating shellfish collected from the Bay of Plenty coastline.
Thirteen people have been admitted to hospital after suffering symptoms ranging from tingling around the mouth to difficulty walking. Three people remain in hospital.
The toxin that causes the illness comes from algae in the ocean. Shellfish feed on the algae and concentrate the toxin in their flesh. Algae levels are extremely high in the Bay at present so shellfish toxin is expected to rise. This underlines the seriousness of the current Medical Officer of Health warning.
"Paralytic shellfish poisoning can be a very serious illness, which can even be fatal. People have been really sick after eating shellfish from the Bay of Plenty. Please don’t collect or eat shellfish from the affected areas these summer holidays," says Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Neil de Wet.
As a reminder the Medical Officer of Health strongly advises against the collection of shellfish from Tairua on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, south to Waihi Beach and along the Bay of Plenty coast to Whakatane Heads in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The warning includes Tairua Harbour as well as Tauranga Harbour, Maketu and Waihi estuaries, Matakana and Motiti Islands, and all other islands along this coastline.