Avoid shellfish in Sabah’s west coast

The Star, 22 Jul 2013

Red tide as seen from the air.Red tide as seen from the air.

KOTA KINABALU: Consuming shellfish in Sabah should still be avoided as red tide is still prevailing in waters off the state’s west coast.

Sabah Fisheries Department Director Rayner Stuel Galid said on Monday the toxic level is between 600 and 800 Mouse Unit (MU), which is a dangerous level for humans.

“This phenomenon is expected to tail off by August and people should refrain from taking shellfish especially those from Kuala Penyu and areas off Kota Kinabalu City, Sipitang and Tuaran as clam samples collected from these areas few months ago was among the highest in Sabah,” he said.

“Food poisoning and even death can result from the consumption of red tide intoxicated shellfish,” he said, adding the lowest MU unit considered safe for humans is below 400 MU.

Traders are also reminded to cooperate with the authorities by not selling the shellfish as they could risk the lives of people.

“Only the Fisheries Department can detect the presence of this toxin in all types of shellfish in our specialized lab and not by mere sight or smell,” Rayner explained.

He added that the toxin in shellfish also couldn’t be washed away even by cooking or washing repeatedly.

More than a hundred people had been warded for red tide poisoning earlier this year, while three deaths had been recorded from this deadly algae bloom.

Symptoms of the deadly algae bloom, commonly known as the red tide phenomenon, includes tingling of the lips and tongue depending on the severity of the poisoning.

Symptoms may progress to a ‘prickling of pins and needles’ sensation followed by the loss of control in a person’s arms and legs and later difficulty in breathing.

Those with such symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention as delay may result in death.

The red tide phenomenon was detected in November last year and was supposed to have tailed off by end of June.

Source

Red tide toxin in Sabah continues to make shellfish unsafe to eat

The Star, 7 Jun 2013

KOTA KINABALU: It is still not advisable to consume shellfish, as the level of red tide toxin recorded in various parts of Sabah sea continues to be high.

Sabah Fisheries Department Director Rayner Stuel Galid said the toxic level is still within 700 Mouse Unit (MU), which is a relatively dangerous level for humans.

“Food poisoning and even death can result from the consumption of red tide intoxicated shellfish,” he said, adding the lowest MU unit considered safe for humans is below 400 MU.

Traders are also reminded to cooperate with the authorities by not selling the shellfish as they could risk the lives of people.

“Only the Fisheries Department can detect the presence of this toxin in all types of shellfish in our specialised lab and not by mere sight or smell,” Rayner explained.

He added that the toxin in shellfish also could not be made safe by washing it repeatedly or by cooking.

Symptoms of the deadly algae bloom, commonly known as the red tide phenomenon, includes tingling of the lips and tongue depending on the severity of the poisoning.

Symptoms may progress to a prickling of pins and needles’ sensation followed by the loss of control in a person’s arms and legs and later difficulty in breathing.

Those with such symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical attention as delay may result in death.

The deadly red algae blood more commonly known as red tide phenomenon was detected in November last year and is expected to tail off by end of this month.

In March, higher levels of red-tide toxins were detected in clam samples obtained from Kuala Penyu and areas off Kota Kinabalu City, Sipitang and Tuaran.

Source

Shellfish alert as red tide hits Sabah waters

The Star, 3 Jan 2013

KOTA KINABALU: People are warned against eating shellfish or bivalves obtained from the sea following a red tide alert in Sabah waters.

Sabah Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel said these included oysters, mussels, cockles and any type of clam-like seafood.

“A year-long Red Tide Monitoring programme conducted by the department with the state Health Department has detected the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in samples of bivalves from waters off certain parts of Sabah’s west coast,” he said.

High densities of the PSP-causative organism was found in samples of sea water from Kuala Penyu, Kota Kinabalu, including Gaya Island, Sepanggar Bay and Likas Bay as well as in the Papar, Putatan, and Tuaran districts.

Rayner said the numbers became so large and dense that they released a brownish red colour to the sea at times.

The types of sea life considered safe to eat include all types of prawns and crabs, coral fish and predatory fish.

Source

Rosnah: Refrain from consuming shellfish

7 Jan 2013

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Shirin advised people in Sabah to refrain from consuming shellfish and bivalve shellfish in the wake of the red tide. They are urged to seek immediate treatment at the nearest hospital should they experience symptoms such as numbness, dizziness, vomiting and breathing difficulties, particularly after consuming cockles. Tests on shellfish collected from areas affected with red tide revealed high concentrations of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, which may be fatal in extreme cases. State Health Director Dr. Christina Rundi confirmed on Saturday that two out of six people who were down with poisoning due to red tide after consuming shellfish have died. Christina said that all six patients were found to have consumed cockles collected from Sepanggar waters. According to hospital sources two patients, aged 14 and 9 suffered critical symptoms of severe anaphylactic shock and were diagnosed with PSP. Both passed away on January 2nd and January 4th respectively. Sabah Fisheries Director Rayner Stuel Galid explained that samples of seawater taken off Sepanggar showed a toxin reading of 6,000 Mouse Units (MUs). “The level is evidently very high because a reading of 400 MU is already toxic and dangerous,” he said. The red tide phenomenon has also been detected in waters off Papar, Putatan, Kota Kinabalu and Tuaran as well as Sitompok Lake in Kuala Penyu. Rayner echoed Rosnah’s call in urging the public to abstain from eating cockles, shellfish and small fishes. “Deep sea fishes, squids and crabs can be consumed but they must be cleaned thoroughly and the gills must be discarded,” he said.

Source: Insight Sabah