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Public Health News

Posted on: January 14, 2021

Marine Biotoxins Found in Discovery Bay Shellfish

01 Danger - Toxic Shellfish

January 14, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
360-385-9444 ext. 301

Port Townsend – Recent shellfish testing has shown elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) in Discovery Bay. The Washington State Department of Health has closed all of Discovery Bay to recreational shellfish harvesting. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area. Shellfish closures have been widespread this season, even well into the winter, which is very atypical compared to prior years. 

PSP can be fatal. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine algae. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and paralysis. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming shellfish should contact a health care provider immediately. For extreme reactions call 911.

For closure locations, check the clickable map at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, go to the Fish and Wildlife website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.

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Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

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