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WHATCOM COUNTY, WA (MyBellinghamNow.com) – Recent closures of recreational scallop fishing operations in Washington have prompted new warnings from the FDA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to eat shellfish from Oregon and Washington because it may be contaminated with biotoxins. According to Oregon state health officials, at least 31 people have been sickened so far.

The warning states that people should avoid eating shellfish harvested since May 28 in Netarts and Tillamook Bays in Oregon, and shellfish harvested since May 26 in areas around Willapa Bay in Washington.

They may be contaminated with high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), a naturally occurring toxin produced by algae. The coasts of Oregon and Washington are currently closed to shellfish fishing.

Whatcom County harvest areas were closed by state health officials on May 24.

People who eat shellfish contaminated with high levels of PSP usually feel sick within 30 to 60 minutes. Symptoms include numbness of the mouth and lips, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and in severe cases, irregular heartbeat.

Dianna Hawryluk of MyBellinghamNow.com contributed to this report.

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