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WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: PERSISTENT TOXIN IN RAZOR CLAMS CANCELS HARVEST SEASON

 WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH:
 PERSISTENT TOXIN IN RAZOR CLAMS CANCELS HARVEST SEASON
 OLYMPIA, Wash., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Continued high levels of a naturally occurring toxin in razor clams have cancelled the possibility of a spring razor clam season on Washington's coast, said officials of the State Departments of Health and Fisheries.
 Domoic acid levels in razor clams range from 20 to 37 parts-per- million. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established maximum safe human consumption levels of domoic acid in razor clams at 20 parts-per-million.
 The illness associated with domoic acid is known as "amnesic shellfish poisoning," and can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal cramps within 24 hours of eating. In severe cases, neurological symptoms appear within 48 hours, and may include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, seizures, breathing difficulty, short-term memory loss and, in extreme cases, result in death.
 Domoic acid was first identified in Washington in razor clams harvested from the Long Beach Peninsula last October, and was the likely cause of illness in 11 people. Unsafe levels of the toxin resulted in the closure of recreational clam harvesting in early November.
 This naturally occurring toxin, similar to red tide, forced the state to cancel last fall's recreational harvest season for razor clams and to temporarily close the commercial crab season.
 The two agencies will continue sampling and testing razor clams prior to the normally scheduled fall season.
 -0- 4/14/92
 /CONTACT: Dean R. Owen, 206-753-3934, or Mimi Nickerson-Johns, 206-753-3237, both of the Washington State Department of Health; or Tony Floor of the Washington State Department of Fisheries, 206-753-6583/ CO: Washington State Department of Health; Washington State
 Department of Fisheries ST: Washington IN: SU:


SC-JH -- SE016 -- 8423 04/14/92 18:54 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1992
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