Beach Toxin Issue Gets Serious

This morning the Herald is reporting that the beach toxins affecting the Auckland Harbour could kill a human in an hour:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10591214&pnum=0

Experts have added a grim warning to the poison beach scare in Auckland, saying the toxin that killed dogs is deadly enough to paralyse humans in seconds and kill them within an hour.

Test results have shown that tetrodotoxin, a poison found in puffer fish, is responsible for the deaths of two dogs, birds and sealife on Auckland beaches.

Touching a dead animal on the beach could be enough to endanger human life, said Cawthron Institute algae specialist Paul McNabb.

He said that warnings for people to keep away from beaches were not extreme, because of the effects the toxins had on humans.

“People can die from this,” Mr McNabb said.

“If you put a slug in your mouth, you’d be vomiting and your entire body would be tingling.

“Within minutes you’d be paralysed. Your heart and lungs would shut down and you’d be dead within the hour.

“Or if you touched it and it was all over your hands and you went and ate a sandwich …”

Mr McNabb said anyone who came down with symptoms including vomiting and drowsiness, after being at a beach, should see a doctor.

This is bad news for the City of Sails, I would be avoiding going near the beaches or the sea at the moment, and avoid eating anything seafood caught in the Hauraki Gulf until this situation is under control.

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