BFAR warns of red tide in some Visayas and Mindanao areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warned on Friday (January 22) that several coastal areas in the Visayas and a bay in southern Mindanao are affected by harmful red tide.

All types of shellfish and alamang from the affected areas are not safe, as they test positive for paralytic shellfish poison based on BFAR's laboratory results.

The bureau said that such seafood should not be harvested, bought, sold, or consumed.

Red tide refers to the rapid proliferation of algae to the point where water becomes discolored.

Although some red tides are harmless, BFAR said that red tides are "almost always" harmful, especially when toxin-producing algae rapidly multiply.

The bureau said that shellfish are particularly prone to toxin contamination, as they feed by filtering microscopic food —including toxic planktonic organisms out of the water.

"Fish, squids, shrimps and crabs are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking."

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of mild paralytic shellfish poisoning begin with numbness or tingling of the face, arms, and legs. This is followed by headache, dizziness, nausea, and muscular incoordination.

In cases of severe poisoning, CDC says that muscle paralysis and respiratory failure occur, and death may occur in two to 25 hours.