Federal health authorities in Quintana Roo this week began the inspection of more than 1,700 seafood outlets due to the health alert issued for contamination of bivalent oysters with the bacterium saxitoxin, a neuromuscular toxin that acts directly on the peripheral nervous system.
Miguel Alejandro Pino Murillo, director of the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Hazard (Cofepris), reported that this is a national alert, but the case of Quintana Roo is the first in which inspections are implemented to corroborate that no contaminated product is being sold.
Last week the alert was declared on the mollusks, especially oysters, so he asked the population to refrain from consuming them until the results of the verification come out. “Right now we are carrying out a review in all the seafood restaurants, just last week an alert was announced on the subject of the oysters that there appears to be a contamination of a bivalve molluscum bacteria, by which a monitoring is done in all the locations that sell the product,” he said.
In the center of the country, there have been cases, specifically in the Pacific, of products that are feared to have descended to the southeast by means of imports and exports, and therefore monitoring has been initiated in all seafood outlets.
In the case of bivalve oysters, an invitation will be made to the merchants to avoid buying the product. Pino Murillo, indicated that in one week they should be issuing the results of the verifications carried out.
“The bacteria is a type of parasite that can cause infections, it is not serious but should be taken care of with medications,” he said.
“The bacteria is a type of parasite that can cause infections, it is not serious but medicines must be taken. This had not been detected in the country, it is of Asian origin, and it is treated with antivirals,” he explained.
Symptoms of infection
Reyna Chan Jiménez, head of a fish and seafood distributor in Chetumal, said that the seafood that comes to Chetumal comes from Yucatan, San Francisco and Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche.
“The oysters that come contaminated are the ones that are in their shell, we are selling without shell,” she said.
The saxitoxin is a characteristic syndrome, predominantly neurological, its effects can be felt in the first five to 30 minutes after ingestion of the infected oyster.
In its mildest form, symptoms are paresthesias (tingling), in the mouth and extremities, accompanied by digestive tract involvement, which usually subside in a few days, as well as headache, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea.
Severe cases may include ataxia (difficulty in movement), dysphonia (changes in the vocal cords), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), muscular paralysis and respiratory distress, with the possibility of death from respiratory paralysis between two and 24 hours after Ingestion.
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