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Health Warning Issued on Some Monterey Bay Shellfish

August 26, 2000|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — State health officials Friday advised against eating shellfish caught for sport in Monterey Bay because they may be contaminated with a naturally occurring toxin that can make people sick.

The warning includes clams, mussels, scallops and oysters--plus sardines and anchovies--caught by sport fishermen.

Shellfish purchased in markets or restaurants are still considered safe because they come from special ocean beds that are tested for such toxins before the shellfish are sold, said Ken August, a spokesman for the Department of Health Services.

The toxin that led to Friday's warning is domoic acid, which is produced by microscopic marine algae. Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning generally include vomiting, diarrhea, headache and dizziness. In severe cases, domoic acid poisoning can be fatal, the health department said.

Officials detected domoic acid in Monterey Bay during a recent routine test, August said.

Since May 1, health officials have advised sport fishermen not to eat mussels they catch anywhere along the California coast.

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