26 Dec 2008

High health risk in shellfish

9:16 am on 26 December 2008

A public health warning not to eat shellfish from a stretch of Bay of Plenty coast has been extended.

Toi Te Ora Public Health says further sampling confirms high levels of paralytic shellfish poison in all bivalve shellfish from Tairua in the Coromandel to the mouth of the Motu river in the Eastern Bay.

The Bay of Plenty Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack, says that under no circumstances should shellfish be collected from the affected stretch of coast.

He says in severe cases, consumption of paralytic shellfish toxin can cause paralysis and respiratory failure.

Paua, cockles, crayfish and crabs can still be taken, but must have the gut removed before cooking.

Dr Shoemack can't say when the health warning will be lifted.