B.C. Centre for Disease Control highlights risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning in an alert to harvesters

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      This is a time of year when some British Columbians like to go looking for clams, mussels, crabs, oysters, and scallops.

      But due to the warm weather and with elevated water temperatures, there are higher concentrations of naturally occurring Vibrio bacteria, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

      They cause Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses.

      One life-threatening disease, paralytic shellfish poisoning, comes from eating shellfish contaminated by algae blooms.

      "In the last three years, the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre (DPIC) has received calls on nine separate PSP incidents affecting 15 individuals," the BCCDC stated. "All 15 who fell ill experienced tingling, either in the lips and mouth area, or in their hands after eating contaminated shellfish. Eighty per cent of the cases were significant enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency department."

      The BCCDC recently updated a map showing where shellfish can be harvested safely in southwestern B.C.

      The light purple represents areas where there's a "chemical closure" to bivalve shellfish harvesting. The darker purple indicated other restricted or prohibited areas. 

      Light and darker brown signify a partial or full biotoxin closure.

      This shellfish harvesting status map is available on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.
      B.C. Centre for Disease Control