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Budd Inlet in Olympia closed to shellfish harvesting because of toxin

State health officials say shellfish samples taken earlier in the week had levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison.

Editor's note: The above video previously aired on KING 5 in 2019.

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state health officials have closed Budd Inlet near Olympia to all shellfish harvesting due to elevated levels of toxins in the shellfish. 

The Washington State Department of Health said Friday shellfish samples taken earlier in the week had levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP).

DSP is a biotoxin, which is produced by naturally occurring microscopic algae, according to health officials. The shellfish eat the algae and can retain the toxin. 

The closure area covers the entire Inlet, which spans from the area south of the end of Cooper Point to Boston Harbor. 

Poisoning from DPS can make people extremely sick. All shellfish, including clams, mussels, oysters, geoduck, and scallops can get the toxin. 

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It's important to note health officials said shellfish with the toxin do not look or taste any different and cooking or freezing them will not destroy the toxin. 

If you think you're affected or experiencing mild symptoms, you should call your doctor as well as Thurston County Public Health at 360-867-2626. 

Health officials advise if your symptoms are severe, to dial 911. 

You can learn more about Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning and how shellfish can become contaminated by visiting the Washington State Department of Health website.

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