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The city government has stepped up monitoring of shellfish trade as red tide toxin continues to plague some bays in the province in the past five weeks. A boy was reported to have died and others fell ill due to shellfish poisoning.

Aside from guarding the market, City Health Inspector Vida Lamadrid said they have been reminding residents on the risk of consuming shellfish due to red tide.

Since the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) raised the red tide alert in the region last month, at least six people in this city had been sent to hospital due to shellfish poisoning.

A six-year old boy died last month after eating contaminated mussel.

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The victims are from the coastal villages of Papua and Bunuanan in this city.

Lamadrid said that based on their investigation, the victims consumed shellfish harvested near populated communities in Irong-Irong Bay.

BFAR and the city government asked village officials to help enforce the shellfish ban, prohibiting people from harvesting, selling and eating shellfish.

“Through their community officials, all residents in the village would know if the bays nearby are still positive of red tide if in case they were not able to hear the news in the media,” Lamadrid said.

Symptoms of red tide poisoning include nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, tingling sensation or numbness in the mouth, headaches and dizziness, and trouble breathing.

As first aid, suspected victims are asked to drink coconut milk mixed with brown sugar to detoxify.

“But most importantly is to bring the victim to the hospital so that doctors can give them proper treatment,” Lamadrid added.

The bays of Irong-Irong, Maqueda, Villareal, Cambaatutay; and coastal waters of Daram and Tarangan, all in Samar province, are still found positive of red tide.

The public is strongly advised to refrain from gathering, marketing, transporting, and consuming shellfish such as green mussels and oyster, and Acetes s.p. or “alamang” from the said bays.

Aside from bays in Samar province, other bays in Eastern Visayas affected by red tide toxin are Carigara Bay in Leyte and Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar. (PNA)

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