Outbreak of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning - Pingtung and Kaohsiung Counties

Kaohsiung City Health Department

1986 Vol.2 NO.2

Correspondence Author:


During January 1-2, 1986, an outbreak of paralytic shellfish poisoning occurred in southern Taiwan. At least 9 separate episodes of poisoning occurred over a two-day period: two banquets and one restaurant-associated outbreak in Pingtung County, and six outbreaks among family members in both Kaohsiung and Pingtung Counties, and Kaohsiung City. A total of 116 persons were ill. Attack rates for the two banquets were 32% and 34%. Twenty-four persons were hospitalized; two died. All affected individuals had eaten a specific type of clam, Sanguinolaria rostrata, known locally as “beauty’s tongue”. In some cases, clams were the only food items eaten. The incubation period ranged from 30 minutes to 7 hours with a median of 1.5 hours. Illness lasted from 1 to 9 days with a median of 1 day. Signs and symptoms included perioral numbness (74%), numbness of the tongue (69%) and extremities (62%), nausea (37%), dizziness (35%), vomiting (34%), respiratory difficulty (22%), headache (21%), flushing (11%), and hypertension (systolic blood pressure > l60mmHg) (5%).