The Ventura County Environmental Health Division (Division) in coordination with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is issuing a warning that the annual quarantine of mussels taken by recreational shellfish harvesters is effective May 1, 2018. This quarantine is due to hazardous levels of toxin causing paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) that may be present in mussels along the Ventura County Coast.
The quarantine applies to all species of mussels taken by the public anywhere on the California coast including all bays, harbors, and estuaries. Commercially-harvested shellfish are not included in the annual quarantine.
By complying with the mussel quarantine and advisory, exposure to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and Domoic Acid Poisoning (DAP) can be prevented. PSP affects the central nervous system producing a tingling around the mouth and fingertips within a few minutes to a few hours after eating shellfish that contain PSP toxins. This typically is followed by disturbed balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.
Symptoms of DAP can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and dizziness. These symptoms disappear completely within several days. In severe cases the victim may experience excessive bronchial secretions, difficulty breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, permanent loss of short- term memory, coma and death.
There is no known antidote to the toxins, and cooking cannot be relied upon to destroy them. Supportive medical care, however, has proven effective in managing the