There are well characterized disease syndromes associated with contaminated shellfish, one of them being Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
Known to be caused by eating shellfish and other organisms which have built up toxins through filter feeding.
There are five species of dinoflagellate associated with PSP including Alexandrium catanella (pictured above) and all produce one or more toxins known as Saxitoxins.
PSP has a dramatic onset (within minutes of consumption):
1. Tingling around lips
2. Numbness of face & neck
3. Nausea, headache and difficulty in species
4. Muscular and respiratory paralysis (!)
The mortality rate can be >10 % if there are no access to medical services.
But the good news is, if someone can keep your heart beating and help with artificial respiration, your body will detoxify the saxitoxin and there are no long-lasting effects. If you make it to a hospital, they’ll be able to help further by pumping your stomach and administering charcoal.
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