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BFAR, DOH issue warning against paralytic shellfish poisoning

ILOILO CITY (PIA) -- The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH WV CHD) reiterated the call against the consumption of shellfish in the meantime.

The repeated warning came after the call of the provincial government of Capiz following the cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning in the said province.

Some of the shells/seafood that store poison. *(part of BFAR bulletin)

The warning was based on Shellfish Bulletin No. 20, series of 2023, issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) confirming the positive on paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) or toxic red tide in Sapian Bay covering the waters of Ivisan and Sapian towns in Capiz and the villages of Mambuquiao and Camanci, Batan town in Aklan.

This further extends to the coastal waters of Panay, Pilar, President Roxas, Roxas City in Capiz; Gigantes Islands in Carles town, Iloilo; and the Batan Bay in Aklan covering the local waters of Altavas, Batan, and New Washington towns.

The bulletin emphasized that all shellfish and the Acetes species or alamang gathered from these areas are not safe for human consumption.

The Capiz Epidemiological Surveillance and Response Unit reported the death of a nine-year old male from Pilar, Capiz who was noted to exhibit symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Also, 31 possible cases of PSP were recorded in the said province – 28 from Pilar town, three from Pontevedra, and one from Roxas City. Meanwhile, the five remaining cases were from Iloilo province – four from Balasan and one from Carles.

The map indicates areas in the country where shellfish collected have tested positive for Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) or toxic red tide based on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Shellfish Bulletin No. 20, s. 2023. (Courtesy of BFAR 6)

“Upon investigation, most of the clients have consumed these green shells prior to the onset of the symptoms,” the DOH 6 press release noted.

With this, the agency is currently monitoring these cases and coordinating with the concerned LGUs and partner agencies to mitigate the increase of the PSP cases.

The Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) section of the Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH WV CHD) in coordination with the Provincial Health Office of Capiz and the Municipal Health Office of Pilar conducted health education on food and water safety to barangay health workers and residents of Brgy. Binaobawan, Pilar, Capiz where cases of suspected paralytic shellfish poisoning were reported. (Courtesy of DOH WV CHD)

According to the health department, PSP is a life-threatening syndrome associated with eating contaminated shellfish, and medical treatment for this condition should not be delayed.

However, PSP can be prevented, the DOH 6 explained, by strictly not consuming any shellfish, alamang, and small fishes.

They also advised the public to wash thoroughly and remove the gills and intestines from fishes, squids, and crabs, and remove the heads of the shrimps before cooking.

Recently, the BFAR 6 also issued an advisory strongly advising the public to temporarily stop eating, gathering, harvesting, transporting, and marketing all types of shellfish and alamang from the mentioned areas. (AAL/FRG/PIA6/with reports from DOH 6 and BFAR 6)

About the Author

Franz Remar Garion

Region 6

Indicium gladio fortior est

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