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Coromandel/BOP: Toxins continue to be detected along Coast

Media information
For immediate release

Date: 23 December 2010

Health warning: Shellfish toxins continue to be detected along the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline

The health warning, first issued back in December 2009, advising against the collection and consumption of shellfish along part of the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline remains in place.

“The most recent weekly monitoring results have continued to show high levels of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) present in shellfish along this coastline,” said Waikato District Health Board health protection officer David Cumming

The affected area is unchanged and includes the entire coastline from Tairua (including Tairua Harbour) south, including Opoutere, Onemana, Whangamata, and Whiritoa, east along the Bay of Plenty coastline from Waihi Beach, including Tauranga Harbour to the mouth of the Whakatane River in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Included are all inshore islands within the above area. The coastline eastward from Ohope beach remains unaffected.

The health warning applies to all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops as well as catseyes and kina (sea urchin). Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken but as always, the gut should be removed before cooking.

Consumption of shellfish affected by the paralytic shellfish toxin can cause numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision, and in severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure. These symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish.

Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention immediately.

Monitoring of shellfish toxin levels will continue along the coast and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

For all health warning updates across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts call 0800 221 555. Further information is available at www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz

Further information on marine biotoxin alerts can be found at www.nzfsa.govt.nz

ENDS

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