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Red tide hits with a frightening intensity

The Maine CDC and the
Maine Department of Marine Resources have issued the following red tide

• Purchase shellfish from
certified dealers that undergo public health screening and auditing.

• If harvesting for
personal use, make sure the shellfish beds are not closed for red tide. Check
the Department of Marine Resources' Web site for the latest
information on closed areas

• Do not consume clams or
mussels floating in ocean waters because they are likely to have much higher
concentrations of toxin.

• When eating lobster, do
not eat the tomalley.

Symptoms of paralytic
shellfish poisoning include tingling of the tongue, lips and throat that begins
within minutes to 10 hours of eating shellfish. This tingling may spread to
other areas of the body such as the face, neck and arms. Symptoms can also
include headache or nausea and can progress to weakness, difficulty breathing,
and choking. Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

For information on red
tide and the ongoing event, go to:

A toxic bloom of red tide that has closed most of Maine's clam flats is so intense that it also has turned parts of the ocean reddish-brown and is believed to be responsible for killing fish and birds.

Levels of the toxin are the highest in more than 30 years and are reminiscent of New England's worst red tide in 1972. That bloom also turned coastal waters reddish-brown and poisoned wildlife, effects so rare in Maine that current state officials and clam diggers say they have never experienced them.

Click here for the full report in the Portland Press Herald.