PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. - Seven members of a Seattle family were hospitalized after eating mussels from a Discovery Bay beach near Port Townsend that has been closed by the state since July because of high levels of biotoxin.
Jefferson County Public Health says members of the unnamed vacationing family, ages 19 to 68, fell ill Saturday with paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Two of the family members were so sick they had to be put on a rsepirator. One woman was just taken off the respirator Monday and is breating on her own but doctors are keeping a close eye on her. She came very close to finding just how deadly PSP can be.
"Well PSP will basically make you stop breathing ... it paralyzes the muscles you are using to breathe," said Michael Dawson, Env. Health Specialist, Jefferson County.
Discovery Bay has some of the highest levels of PSP in the state. The signs are posted everywhere. Discovery Bay is closed, so is most of northeastern Jefferson County.
"It turns out they were most likely gathering mussels anywhere between 10 p.m. and midnight, so it was quite dark out," said Jared Keefer, Env. Health Director, Jefferson County
Even in daylight you can miss the signs, so the best advice is to check your health department notices before scooping up a meal on the beach.