BOSTON (AP) — State public health officials are warning consumers not to eat shellfish recently harvested from the southern Nauset Marsh area between Orleans and Eastham on Cape Cod because it may be contaminated by a naturally occurring nerve poison.

The public health department said Wednesday some shellfish harvested and sold after April 29 could have absorbed the toxic plankton present in so-called “red tide.” The toxin can affect the human nervous system and even cause fatal paralysis. No illnesses have been reported in Massachusetts.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries had closed part of Nauset Marsh to shellfishing April 20 because of red tide, and that area was expanded Monday. The state said experts from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have seen increasing levels of the toxic plankton in the marsh system.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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