Toxic Shellfish Warning in Canada

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Canadian health officials say oysters and mussels harvested from an area of British Columbia’s coast north of Vancouver contain a toxin and should not be eaten.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the toxins can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, a serious condition that can result in death within 12 hours, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News reported Friday.

Symptoms include tingling and numbness of the lips, tongue, hands and feet, along with difficulty swallowing, and severe cases can proceed to muscle and respiratory paralysis.

Mussels and oysters harvested Oct. 3-4 may contain the toxin because of an algae bloom, known as a red tide, in that part of the coast, health officials said.

The affected shellfish were distributed to institutional and retail clients throughout British Columbia, they said.

The warning is a second blow to the province’s seafood industry after a virus in oysters harvested from Vancouver Island in September caused outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness in the Vancouver area, the CBC said.

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