Health officials are urging residents to stay away from certain shellfish because it has contaminated waters along the Southern California coast.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health for LA County, said, “California and Los Angeles County should take precautions to stay safe during toxic algae blooms.
According to health officials, the flower contains a neurotoxin called domoic acid. At first, it only affected the plankton feasting on algae. However, it moved up the food chain as animals like sea lions and dolphins started eating contaminated fish like sardines.
So far, more than 100 sea lions have gone missing on beaches in LA County and others have attacked people in Orange County.
“Even if you want to help, the best and safest way to help is to stay away and report a sick animal right away,” said Marcia Mayeda, director of LA County Animal Control.
Neurotoxin concentrations are expected to rise this weekend. Construction crews at Laguna Beach worked all day Friday to build additional pens for sick sea animals that may wash up on local beaches.
Dr. Alyssa Deming said, “The bloom is expected to pick up a bit this weekend, so we expect not only to continue to get the same number of animals, but possibly even more over the next several days.” Veterinarian.
June is normally a slow month but the severe ocean conditions have increased the number of patients at the facility by 95% compared to a year ago. The breakthrough has prompted Orange County officials to consider housing sick animals at a local school or on a public beach.
“We want to make sure the guests stay away from the animals on the beach. This is the main priority,” said supervisor Katrina Foley.
In high doses, domoic acid can cause seizures, heart failure and even death in humans. While sardines make sea lions sick on local beaches, shellfish pose the greatest risk to humans, public health officials say. Because of this risk, the California Department of Public Health is urging residents to avoid “mushrooms, clams or scallops harvested for sport from Santa Barbara County.”
“Eating contaminated seafood can cause illness or even death in humans, and I urge residents to stay informed and follow government-issued shellfish advisories for seafood and shellfish such as crab, clams, mussels and oysters,” Ferrer said.
Symptoms of domic acid poisoning can appear 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. According to the CDFA, mild cases can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches and dizziness. These will disappear in several days.
Also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning, severe cases of this disease can cause patients to have trouble breathing, confusion, confusion, cardiovascular problems, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, short-term memory loss, coma, or death. If you experience any of these serious symptoms, you should call 911 or see a doctor right away.