Nerve toxin found in Discovery Bay shellfish

Recreational harvest not allowed on public tidelands

PORT TOWNSEND — Discovery Bay beaches have been closed to shellfish harvest after elevated levels of a potent nerve toxin were found in shellfish samples, the Jefferson County Public Health Department announced.

The toxin causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), which poisons the nerves and can be fatal within minutes of ingestion.

Recreational shellfish harvest is not allowed on public tidelands at this time because of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. But property owners with private tidelands on Discovery Bay were advised by the state Department of Health to heed the warning.

Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from the area.

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 the state.

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