Diarrheal shellfish poisoning

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Overview

Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) is one of the four recognised symptom types of shellfish poisoning, the others being paralytic shellfish poisoning, neurotoxic shellfish poisoning and amnesic shellfish poisoning.

As the name suggests, this syndrome manifests itself as diarrhea, although nausea, vomiting and cramps are all common too.

DSP and its symptoms usually set in within about half an hour of ingesting infected shellfish, and last for about one day. The causative poison is okadaic acid which inhibits intestinal cellular phosphorylation. This causes the cells to become very permeable to water and causes profuse diarrhoea with risk of dehydration. As no life-threatening symptoms generally emerge from this, no fatalities from DSP have ever been recorded.



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