Toxic algae contaminating shellfish, could cause paralysis

September 2, 2019 GMT

SAN JUAN ISLANDS, Wash. (AP) — A large algae bloom near the San Juan Islands is causing a dangerous type of toxin to get inside local shellfish that could paralyze or even kill a person, if eaten.

KOMO-TV reports the Skagit County Public Health Department says the water is showing high levels of “Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning,” or PSP.

It’s a biotoxin living inside the clams, oysters, mussels and scallops.

Polly Dubbel, with the health department, says the toxin can have immediate impacts on health.


PSP can kill someone if they ate enough shellfish, which is why the county has closed the area to shellfish harvesters until toxin levels have significantly gone down.

According to Washington’s Department of Health, all of Padilla and Samish Bays in the county have toxins in the water and in the shellfish.


Information from: KOMO-TV, http://www.komotv.com/