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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1990 Mar;42(3):267-71.

Lethal paralytic shellfish poisoning in Guatemala.

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Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia.


An outbreak of paralytic shellfish poisoning occurred in Champerico, on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, July-August 1987. Of 187 people affected with characteristic neurologic symptoms, 26 died. A case study implicated a species of clam, Amphichaena kindermani, harvested from local beaches as the vehicle of the neurotoxins (saxitoxins). Children less than 6 years old had a higher fatality rate (50%) than people greater than 18 years of age (7%). The minimum lethal dose for 1 child was estimated to have been 140 mouse units of toxin/kg body weight; thus children may be more sensitive to the saxitoxins than are adults. This is the first large outbreak of paralytic shellfish poisoning recognized in Guatemala.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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