Two incidents of toxin-type food poisoning in N.E. Scotland associated with the consumption of red whelks (Neptunea antiqua) are described. Four patients developed symptoms within 1 h of consuming whole whelks. These included visual distrubances—double vision and difficulty in focusing-ingling of the fingers, prostration and in one subject nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and ataxia. In all cases recovery was complete in 24 h. Using a newly developed analytical technique the concentration of the causative toxin, tetramine, in the salivary glands of the whelks consumed was estimated at 0.07%, equivalent to a content of 3.75mg/100g of the shellfish.
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