oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Poisonous and venomous marine animals : clinical
Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is caused by ingestion of mussels that have concentrated the poison, saxitoxin, produced by the 'red tide' dinoflagellate <I>Alexandrium catenella</I>. In severe cases, progressive muscular paralysis, with pronounced respiratory difficulty, develops. Since respiratory depression can develop surreptitiously, extreme vigilance should be exercised to monitor and support patients, especially during the first 12 hours. <BR>Scombroid poisoning is caused by the consumption of 'spoiled' fish which has undergone autolytic changes as a result of improper storage conditions. It resembles a histamine-like or acute allergic reaction. The treatment of the condition is symptomatic and supportive. The majority of patients respond well to antihistamines. <BR>Venomous marine animals may inflict injury by means of bites, stings or simply by direct contact. Secondary infection is a common complication. Coelenterata are responsible for most marine envenomations. These include bluebottles (the Portuguese man-of-war or <I>Physalia</I>).
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