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  • Shellfish Poisoning

  • Bivalve clam up your stomach? Eating contaminated shellfish can lead to the most dangerous forms of food poisoning. In New England, the two most commonly reported conditions are paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP).

    Mussel damage:
    Symptoms of shellfish poisoning

    In its early stages, shellfish poisoning is often mistaken for drunkenness. Symptoms may include:

    • Headache
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Confusion
    • Loss of memory
    • Disorientation
    • Trouble breathing
    • Choking feeling
    • Slurred speech
    • Tingling or burning of the mouth, face, neck, arms and/or legs

    In serious cases, poisoning may result in seizures, coma or death. In PSP, symptoms appear more rapidly, usually within 10-30 minutes of eating the contaminated shellfish (ASP symptoms may appear up to 48 hour later), and are more acute. There is no cure for shellfish poisoning; many cases require hospitalization to treat symptoms.

    Protect Yourself

    If you are unsure of where a shellfish has come from, don't eat it. No amount of cooking will make it safe.

    Bivalves to beware of

    Water safety tips