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CHP Investigating Suspected Cases Of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

Armen Hareyan's picture

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health is investigating three reports of suspected cases of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning affecting a total of six persons, which were reported to the CHP.

The first case involved two men and a woman, aged from 30 to 60. They developed numbness in the mouth after consuming scallops at home on April 26 evening.

Their symptoms were generally mild and no medical attention was required. It is reported that the scallops concerned were bought from Tai Shing Street Market in Wong Tai Sin.

In the second case, a 42-year-old woman developed numbness, headache and tiredness about eight hours after consuming scallops at home during dinner on April 27.

She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital and did not require hospitalisation. Initial enquiries revealed that the scallops concerned were purchased from a fish stall at Yeung Uk Road Market in Tsuen Wan.

The last case involved a man and a woman aged 29 and 30 respectively. They developed limb and oral numbness, dizziness, weakness and abdominal pain about 1.5 hours after consuming scallops , skin of coral reef fish and geoduck during dinner in a restaurant in Tuen Mun on April 28.

The two patients attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Tuen Mun Hospital. The 29-year-old man was admitted and had been discharged. He is now in stable condition.

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The information gathered from these two patients suggests PSP poisoning or ciguatera fish poisoning.

Investigations by CHP and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on the three cases are continuing.

In 2005 and 2006, 42 and 3 suspected cases of PSP were reported to CHP respectively.

A spokesman for CHP said that PSP toxin is a natural toxin sometimes found in bi-valve shellfish. It is heat-stable and cannot be destroyed through cooking.

He appealed to members of the public to observe the following measures:

* Buy shellfish from reliable and licensed seafood shops;

* Remove the viscera, gonads and roe before cooking and eat a smaller amount of shellfish in any one meal;

* Children, patients and the elderly may be more susceptible to poisoning and should be cautious in consuming shellfish;

* When symptoms occur after consuming shellfish, seek medical advice immediately.