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According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Oregon coast remains closed for shellfish and mussel harvesting.

Toxin levels remain too high for consumption

According to reporter Heather Roberts, who is covering the situation, numerous illnesses related to the toxins, known as paralytic shellfish poisoning, have been reported.

Roberts reports:

"An outbreak of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning led to closures of razor and bay clamming… and mussels harvesting on the coasts of Oregon and Washington. The Commercial oyster industry in Tillamook and Neah Bays is also shut down, adding to the economic impact.

Alex Maderson, with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, says the biotoxin can cause serious health problems … 21 people have been hospitalized.

Maderson said: "The symptoms that were reported in Oregon this time were pretty mild compared to what you can get. Numbness and tingling, and that sort of thing, and maybe labored breathing. But, in severe cases, it’s paralysis of the muscles, so you can end up being unable to breathe."

The toxin is produced by microscopic algae and then ingested by clams, mussels and oysters.

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Manderson says it’s very stable and can’t be cooked out. ODA is testing every week to determine when it’s safe to reopen the area for shellfish harvesting."

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Gallery Credit: Charlotte Barnett

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