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San Diego County Digest

November 08, 1991

A toxin discovered for the first time along the San Diego County coastline led the state Department of Health Services on Thursday to extend indefinitely the annual quarantine on mussels, clams and native rock scallops.

The toxin is believed to be coming from a plankton upon which the shellfish feed, the department said in a press release. The toxin, domoic acid, was responsible for the deaths of several hundred sea birds in Santa Cruz harbor in September and caused four human fatalities along the coast of Canada in 1987.

Symptoms of poisoning by the toxin are gastrointestinal distress, headaches, seizures, irregular heartbeat, brain lesions and permanent memory loss.

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