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Causes paralysis and even death: poisonous algae infect US seafood

This summer, poisonous algae blooms occurred throughout the United States, and there are many Washington beaches among the affected areas.

Фото: Depositphotos

Aquatic plants produce compounds known as biotoxins. Later, these substances are stored in mollusk meat. On some beaches, the extraction of mollusks is temporarily prohibited, because people can be paralyzed and even fatal when eating poisoned sea creatures.

Here is all you need to know:

Algae producing biotoxin are found in nature and under normal conditions do not pose a threat. However, when water blooms, algae become the main food source for mollusks.

Since animals do not die when algae are consumed, the concentration of biotoxin in their tissues continues to increase until the outbreak subsides.

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Most often, mussels, oysters, guidaki and scallops are affected. Gastropods, sea cucumbers and crabs may also contain biotoxic traces.

Raw or cooked, contaminated mollusks are unsafe to eat. Heat does not kill toxins, and you cannot determine if a mollusk is infected by looking at it.

Symptoms of poisoning with PSP toxins can occur a few minutes to several hours after eating infected mollusks and include tingling of the lips and tongue. This sensation can spread to the limbs before moving on to paralysis and shortness of breath. Some people also experience nausea.

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If the level of toxin is high, the abdominal and chest muscles can paralyze, and lead to suffocation and death in 30 minutes.

Фото: Depositphotos

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for paralytic mollusk venom. In severe cases, patients are connected to life support equipment to maintain breathing until the toxin has exhausted itself. Survivors, as a rule, expect a full recovery.

You can check the state of your beach at the Washington Department of Health website. There are also handouts on how to safely collect shellfish and prevent diseases from biotoxins.

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