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Canadian Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning Symposium

The first diarrhetic shellfish poisoning outbreak in BC's history occurred in August 2011, when over 60 people became ill from eating cooked mussels.

Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning is caused when shellfish ingest toxin-producing algae. When the contaminated shellfish are consumed, rapid onset of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting symptoms (similar to norovirus) can occur. The toxin cannot be inactivated by heat and, therefore, DSP can be associated with raw and cooked shellfish.

The DSP Symposium was held on November 27, 2012 at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier in North Vancouver. This symposium hosted a diverse audience including shellfish growers, epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, medical practitioners, environmental health officers, researchers and government regulators.

The objectives of this symposium were to:
  • provide a forum to educate key stakeholders on this emerging issue
  • create a DSP network 
  • identify research and surveillance priorities in BC
  • build capacity in BC to respond to DSP and other shellfish toxin outbreak investigations
  • optimize risk communication messaging to stakeholders and the public during outbreaks and harmful algal bloom events

Marine Drugs special issue

Marine Drugs, an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal, published a special issue about the symposium. For a list of editors, keywords and selected published papers, see "Special Issue "Selected Papers from Canadian Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning Symposium."

Phytoplankton monitoring network

A volunteer network for phytoplankton monitoring for shellfish growers has been established since the symposium (contact info).

SOURCE: Canadian Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning Symposium ( )
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