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33 Shellfish Poisoning Cases Reported in HK

The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of Hong Kong's Department of Health said Friday that it has received 33 reports of suspected shellfish poisoning affecting 54 people since Tuesday.

As a result of the alert raised by the CHP upon receiving the first batch of cases on March 15, no one has been reported to have eaten fresh scallops since March 16 and developed shellfish poisoning, and the cases that were reported over the past few days occurred before March 16, a CHP spokesman said.

The hotline on shellfish poisoning set up by the CHP has so far received 33 calls. Seventeen of the callers claimed that they had developed nervous system related symptoms after consuming fresh scallops recently, and most of them recovered without seeking medical treatment.

The 54 patients -- 22 males and 32 females aged from 11 to 81 --developed nervous system related symptoms about 20 minutes to three hours after consuming the same type of fresh scallops between March 10 and 15.

The scallops were bought from 20 markets in various districts in Hong Kong.

Twenty-seven of the affected people attended the accident and emergency department of public hospitals, two sought medical treatment from private doctors and one consulted a Chinese medicine practioner. All were in a stable condition and did not require hospitalization.

(Xinhua News Agency March 19, 2005)

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