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Scenario: Food Poisoning Caused by Shellfish

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Please provide insight on how the approach the following scenario:

You are on a boat on the west coast of British Columbia, having driven up from Seattle with a group of friends to go fishing over the Easter holidays. You crossed the ferry to Vancouver Island and rent a cruiser for a week out of Port Hardy and are exploring the remote fjord-like coast of the mainland. On Easter Saturday there is a low spring tide and you and your friends are able to harvest by hand some large clams growing in a sheltered bay. You plan to cook them for supper on Easter Sunday evening. However, two of your friends get up early on Sunday morning to cook a couple over an open fire ashore for breakfast. They signal to you and you wave back but one seems to be on the ground and other is rather agitated. You run over and find one is almost unconscious, and the other has difficulty speaking. He is also breathing in a labored way. He indicates his feet and hands are numb. He can say no more. What do you think is happening, what the prognosis is, and what do you do to help them?

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Solution Summary

Composed of over 400 words, this response outlines the cause, prognosis, and possible means of treatment for a specific scenario pertaining to food poisoning. Relevant references are included.

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For this specific case, it sounds like the individuals are suffering from paralytic shellfish poisoning.

See: http://www.bccdc.ca/dis-cond/a-z/_p/ParalyticShellfishPoisoning/overview/Paralytic+Shellfish+Poisoning.htm

I've found a link for you from the government of British Columbia, where it lists clams as a common food source of this type of poisoning. This seems to be the most likely that cause:

This type of poisoning results from eating shellfish (like clams) that have consumed toxin containing algae. What makes the toxins particularly dangerous is the fact that normal cooking methods do not render these substances inactive. Even though the two men cooked the clams over a fire, the ...

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