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Eating seafood in Australia could prove fatal; authorities warn against algae bloom

The authorities in the Australian state of Tasmania urged sea food lovers to avoid eating wild shellfish, citing the risk of potentially-fatal paralytic poisoning. Mark Veitch, Tasmania's acting director of public health, released a statement
India TV Lifestyle Desk melbourne August 15, 2016 15:48 IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

The authorities in the Australian state of Tasmania urged sea food lovers to avoid eating wild shellfish, citing the risk of potentially-fatal paralytic poisoning.

Mark Veitch, Tasmania's acting director of public health, released a statement on Sunday warning Tasmanians and tourists to heed the "very real" threat to health, which has come due to an algal bloom in the water, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Shellfish feed on the algae and (therefore) concentrate the toxin -- this makes them dangerous to eat and may cause serious and even fatal illness," the statement said.

"The large scale of this algal bloom and the high levels of toxin in tested shellfish mean the risk of shellfish poisoning from eating shellfish collected from the wild is very real."

Tasmanian seafood is popular across the world and many Australians choose to travel south for sport fishing, mussel and abalone diving, as well as oyster sampling.

The seafood items that have made it to the authorities' 'unsafe list' are wild oysters, mussels, scallops and pipis from anywhere along the island's east coast. Further warning has also been meted out to Tasmanians, which confirms that cooking the fish will not kill the deadly toxins.

Two types of toxin have been identified by the authorities, one of which causes mild diarrhea while the other causes paralysis which could lead to death.

The latest algal bloom follows a similar one which occurred in 2015 when two people were hospitalised after consuming toxic mussels in October.  

(With IANS inputs)