Category Archives: Algal Toxin

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert (extended) – North Island West Coast region

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today extended the public health warning against collecting shellfish on the west coast of the North Island in the Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui, Manawatu, and Horowhenua regions. The warning now extends from the mouth of Port Waikato southward to Te Horo Beach in the Wellington region.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

MPI today also removed the public health warning against collecting shellfish in Nydia Bay Pelorus Sounds

Warnings remain in place for the Bay of Islands and Akaroa Harbour.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note: cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

North Island West coast

New Zealand -Amended shellfish biotoxin warning for the Kenepuru and inner Pelorus Sound

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries today reduced the area subject to a public health warning against collecting shellfish in the Kenepuru and inner Pelorus Sound.  The warning now includes only Nydia Bay in the inner Pelorus Sound.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region still show levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Poland -Algae blooms force Poland to shut down 50 Baltic Sea beaches

Herald Whig

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Thinking of a dip in the Baltic Sea to cool off from the unusually scorching European summer? It’s too hot for that.

Authorities in Poland this week banned swimming at over 50 beaches along its Baltic coast, after hot weather led to the toxic growth of bacteria in the unusually warm sea. Baltic Sea water temperatures exceeded 23 degrees Celsius (73.4F) in some places Thursday.

Emergency water rescuers told vacationers on hot sandy beaches — from Swinoujscie in the west to Gdynia in the east — not to enter the sea, where thick green-brown cyanobacteria colonies have grown and pose a health threat.

Regional sanitation authorities have issued warnings that contact with the bacteria may cause allergies and rashes. Drinking contaminated water can also lead to serious digestive problems.

The Baltic Sea has not seen such intense growth of cyanobacteria for 12 years. It results from exceptionally high air temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius (93.2 degrees Fahrenheit) that have raised the temperatures of the usually cold Baltic.

A similar ban has been issued for some inland lakes and reservoirs, such as the Zegrze Resevoir near Warsaw.

In neighboring Germany, authorities issued a warning about the higher than usual growth of vibrio bacteria in the warm Baltic that can cause deadly illness in people with compromised immune systems. They said a 70-year-old man with a chronic illness died of vibrio infection over the weekend, and warned elderly people and those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or HIV to avoid contact with the sea or brackish water.

In Finland, the Loviisa nuclear power plant said in a statement it briefly reduced energy production in both its units Wednesday to prevent the Baltic Sea water that cools its infrastructure from getting too warm. It said there was no danger to people or the environment.

USA – Red tide in Southwest Florida – Karenia brevis

File:Karenia brevis.jpgOutbreak News Today 

In an update on the red tide in Southwest Florida, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in the area.

Fish kills have been reported over the past week in multiple locations in Manatee County, in Sarasota County, in Charlotte County, in Lee County, and in and offshore of Collier County.

Respiratory irritation was reported over the past week in numerous places along Florida’s west coast.

The National Ocean Service says while many people call these blooms ‘red tides,’ scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom. One of the best known HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Red tides have been documented along Florida’s gulf coast since the 1840’s.

This bloom, like many HABs, is caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins may also make the surrounding air difficult to breathe. As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.

Karenia brevis was named for Dr. Karen A. Steidinger in 2001, and was previously known as Gymnodinium breve and Ptychodiscus brevis. Karenia brevis is a marine dinoflagellate common in Gulf of Mexico waters, and is the organism responsible for the “tides” (coastal infestations) termed red tides that affect Gulf coasts—of Florida and Texas in the U.S., and nearby coasts of Mexico. It is the source organism for various toxins found present during such “tides”, including the eponymously named brevetoxins.

New Zealand – Further shellfish biotoxin alerts

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning against collecting shellfish in the entire Bay of Islands, extending to the outer heads between Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett.

MPI also extended the public health warning against collecting shellfish on the west coast of the North Island in the Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui, Manawatu, and Horowhenua regions. The warning now extends from the mouth of Port Waikato southward to the Manawatu River at Foxton Beach. The alert also includes Aotea and Kawhia Harbours but not Port Waikato itself.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from the Bay of Islands region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Warnings are also in place for the Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, and the West Coast of the North Island.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Map of Bay of Islands

USA -Record ‘Red Tide’ Of Toxic Algae Is Killing Wildlife In Florida – Humans Affected as Well

Huffington Post

toxic algae bloom sweeping Florida’s southwest coast is being described as the worst in more than a decade, with the so-called red tide blanketing beaches in dead fish and killing sharks, manatees and endangered sea turtles.

The aggressive overgrowth, which occurs each year but intensifies with high temperatures, pollution and stagnant water, has become unusually strong since emerging in October, and has stretched into the longest outbreak since 2006, according to state wildlife officials.

 

According to Treasure Coast Newspapers, 15 people were recently treated at Martin Health System emergency rooms in Stuart over two days for symptoms consistent with algae toxins after coming in contact with the St. Lucie River, which is near West Palm Beach and Lake Okeechobee.

Inhaling, touching or ingesting the algae through contaminated water can cause respiratory illness, abdominal pain, vomiting, and neurologic effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eating contaminated fish or shellfish also can cause illness.

UK – Scotland -High levels of shellfish toxin

HPS Scotland 

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Leurbost in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore. Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle (Western Isles Council) and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

The Comhairle is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.

[Source: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, 26 July 2018. https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/news/2018/july/high-levels-of-shellfish-toxin/]