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Shellfish Area Closure Still in Place

NEWS RELEASE Health Waikato

The coastal area on the western side of the North Island is still closed for the collecting and eating of shellfish. David Cumming, Health Protection Officer for Health Waikato, said some people may not realise that the danger of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) still continues.

The closed area extends from Baring Head near Wellington to Cape Reinga (Northland) and includes Kawhia, Aotea and Raglan Harbours.

Sampling indicates that the toxins in the affected shellfish are still at higher than acceptable levels. The PSP causative algae Gymnodinium catenatum continues to be found in water samples taken from this area of coastline.

Symptoms of PSP occur within hours of consuming shellfish, and include numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities; difficulty swallowing or breathing; dizziness; double vision and/or paralysis. People who become ill after consuming shellfish should contact a Public Health Unit Health Protection Officer or their general practitioner.

Where the areas are closed for the collection and eating of all shellfish, this includes scallops, tuatua, cockles, oysters, mussels, pipi, catseye (pupu), and kina (sea urchin). People are advised not to eat the gut of paua, rock lobster or crabs which have been taken from closed areas.

The public are reminded that the gut and skirt of scallops should never be consumed even when taken from areas that are not subject to warnings about biotoxins.

For more information about the safety of the shellfish, people can contact a Health Protection Officer toll free on 0800 800 977, from 8.00am - 5.00pm, or after hours, the on-call Health Protection Officer on mobile 025 999 511.

For more information please contact:

David Cumming Health Protection Officer Community Health Health Waikato Tel: 07 838 259 ext 7958

Most recent results of testing for marine biotoxins for the samples taken from Aotea Harbour can be found by clicking SHELLFISH HEALTH WARNING on the Ngati te Wehi Aotea Harbour Website: http://www.freespeech.org/aotea


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