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Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning

Confirmed Case

  • Clinical illness [1] within 24 hours of eating at risk shellfish [2];
  • Detection of saxitoxin or related toxins in samples of shellfish that were consumed by an individual meeting the clinical case definition, in edible tissues in excess of 0.8 mg/kg (0.8 ppm);
  • Detection of saxitoxin in urine or feces collected within 24 hours of exposure and illness;
  • Detection of high levels of dinoflagellates (Alexandrium, Gymnodinium, and Pyrodinium spp.) associated with shellfish poisoning in water from which epidemiologically related shellfish [2] were gathered.

Probable Case

  • Clinical illness [1] within 12 hours of consumption of at risk shellfish [2] and in the absence of other known causes.


  1. Clinical illness defined as: neurological symptoms such as paresthesia and/or paralysis involving the mouth and extremities, which may be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms. 
  2. At risk shellfish include filter feeding molluscan bivalve shellfish: clams, mussels, scallops (digestive tissues), oysters, cockles, and whelks and the hepatopancreas of crab. 
SOURCE: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning ( )
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