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CHP investigates case of paralytic shellfish poisoning
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 22) investigating a case of paralytic shellfish poisoning affecting two members of a family.

     The case involves one male and one female both aged 41, who presented with blurring of vision, dizziness and tiredness from 10 to 30 minutes after consuming sea snails at home on June 19. They attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Princess Margaret Hospital on the same day and no hospitalisation was required. Both patients have been in a stable condition all along.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the sea snails were purchased online and collected from a food ingredient shop in Sun Kwai Hing Plaza in Kwai Chung. Investigations by the CHP and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are continuing.

     "Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin is a natural toxin sometimes found in bivalve shellfish. It is heat-stable and cannot be destroyed through cooking," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "The symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning are predominantly neurological and the onset is usually within minutes to hours after ingestion of the shellfish. Initial symptoms may include tingling, numbness of the mouth and extremities, headache, dizziness and gastrointestinal discomfort. In the majority of cases, symptoms resolve completely within a few days. In severe cases, difficulty in swallowing and speech, paralysis with respiratory arrest and even death may occur," the spokesman added.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public that they should seek medical advice immediately if they develop shellfish poisoning symptoms and save any leftovers for investigation and laboratory testing.

     To reduce the risk of shellfish poisoning, the public should:
  • Buy shellfish from reliable and licensed seafood shops;
  • Remove the viscera, gonads and roe before cooking and discard any cooking liquid before consumption;
  • Eat a smaller amount of shellfish in any one meal; and
  • When symptoms occur after consuming shellfish, seek medical advice immediately.

Ends/Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Issued at HKT 19:03
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