Toxin found in Gippsland Lakes prompts shellfish warning from Victorian Health Department

People have been warned not to eat or take mussels and other shellfish from Victoria’s Gippsland Lakes region, as health authorities test for a rare, potentially fatal toxin.

While no-one has recently become ill from eating the shellfish, the warning was issued as a precaution, the Health Department said.

It said it was still safe to swim in the lakes region and eat fish from the waters.

High levels of the rare toxin Pseudo-nitzschia delicatissima, which is caused by algae blooms, was found in water samples taken at Eagle Point, Paynesville and Metung.

The last significant bloom was 20 years ago, the department said, adding it hoped to give an update later this week after further testing.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, while headaches, short-term memory loss and seizures can develop in severe cases.

The Health Department said anyone showing signs or symptoms should contact their doctor.

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