Mysterious shellfish biotoxin surfaces In Sequim

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 12, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 15 at 1:57 PM

SEQUIM, Wash. - Washington State Health Department officials say they have the first case of a strain of shellfish poisoning making a people in the United States ill.

Samples in a small bay on the Strait of Juan de Fuca detected presence of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning or DSP. The tests were conducted at Sequim Bay after members of a local family came down with symptoms of DSP after collecting and eating mussels from the bay.

Local health officials were ordered to post signs and close shellfish fish harvesting on the beach and state officials say they were able to recall all shellfish gathered commercially at the site.

Campers in the area say they were curious about the signs but like most residents, they refrain from shellfish gathering during the summer months.

Operators at Sequim Bay State Park say they were surprised to learn their beach produced the first DSP illness in the country but say few people have complained about the closure.

The Health Department is continuing to sample shellfish in the Bay for DSP which has been common in Europe and parts of Canada but never detected in shellfish before in Washington State.

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