Authorities in Australia’a Tasmania state are urging people to stop consuming seafood due to the risk of potentially-fatal paralytic poisoning.
Mark Veitch, Tasmania’s acting director of public health, released a statement late Sunday night warning Tasmanians and tourists to heed the “very real” threat to health, which has come due to an algal bloom in the water, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Shellfish feed on the algae and (therefore) concentrate the toxin — this makes them dangerous to eat and may cause serious and even fatal illness,” the statement said.
“The large scale of this algal bloom and the high levels of toxin in tested shellfish mean the risk of shellfish poisoning from eating shellfish collected from the wild is very real.”
Tasmanian seafood is considered by many as the best in the world, with many Australians choosing to make the trip to the southernmost state for sport fishing, mussel and abalone diving, as well as oyster sampling.
The authorities have said it was unsafe to eat wild oysters, mussels, scallops and pipis from anywhere along the island’s east coast, while Tasmanians have also been warned that cooking the fish will not kill the deadly toxins.
Two types of toxin have been identified by the authorities, one of which causes mild diarrhea while the other causes paralysis which could lead to death.
The latest algal bloom follows a similar one which occurred in 2015 when two people were hospitalised after consuming toxic mussels in October.