The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has announced shellfish products coming from the coastal waters of Western Pangasinan are free of red tide toxin contamination.

Shellfish and seashells products from the areas of Alaminos City, Bani, Bolinao, Anda and Sual such as shrimps, crabs and seashells like mussels and oysters tested negative of red tide toxin contamination, according to a BFAR Shellfish Bulletin.

However, shellfish products from Irong-Irong Bay in Western Samar and the coastal waters of Masbate are positive beyond that of the regulatory limit, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) reported.

Red tide refers to a phenomenon wherein the water is discolored by high algal biomass or concentration of algae. It is not necessarily red in color, as others may appear yellow, brown, green, blue or milky, according to BFAR.

In humans, ingestion of red tide toxin-contaminated seafood could cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). It is a potent toxin able to affect the nervous system under 30 minutes.

It presents with tingling of the lips and tongue, headache, dizziness and nausea - symptoms which could be misidentified with being drunk.

Severe poisoning in some cases could result in complete paralysis and death from respiratory failure within 2 to 12 hours, but it’s also possible to recover slowly and without any residual symptoms within 12 hours, according to NIEHS Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center.

Treatment is mostly supportive and symptomatic, needing ventilatory support for severe poisoning.

To prevent poisoning, BFAR asks the public to be alert of places with red tide advisory.

“BFAR, in coordination with concerned LGUs continue to carry out harmful algal bloom monitoring in identified coastal waters as precautionary measure in safeguarding public health and promoting shellfish products,” Regional Director Nestor Domenden was quoted by PIA.

He has required market inspectors, quarantine officers and administrators to ask dealers of the product to show auxiliary invoice from the point of origin or Local Transport Permit issued to the products to make sure none of these products will enter the market. MIMS

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