Malaysia: Kota Baru river shellfish contaminated

Compiled by RAHIMY RAHIM, ADRIAN CHAN and R. ARAVINTHAN The Star 3 Sep 15;

POISONOUS toxins usually linked with shellfish have been discovered in oysters and cockles in Sungai Geting, Kota Baru, reported Kosmo!

The state Fisheries Department warned the public against collecting or eating these contaminated oysters and cockles, usually found in the river bed.

Its director Mohd Zain Saad said research by scientists from Universiti Malaya, via its research lab in Bachok, found traces of Alexandrium (bacteria) in the waters of Sungai Geting.

“Those who consume these contaminated oysters or cockles could suffer poisoning or other serious implications including death. I have asked the department to issue an advisory,” he said.

The toxin is produced by tiny phyto-plankton, but it can accumulate in the tissues of the mussels, oysters and cockles.

Among the common symptoms experienced by those who consume the shellfish are nausea and numb lips.

Mohd Zain said although his department had yet to receive any reports of poisoning from Sungai Geting, the authorities were not taking the situation lightly.

“We have submitted water samples to Pahang and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for further investigations,” he said.