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Food poisoning due to the consumption of red whelks (Neptunea antiqua)

  • T. M. S. Reid (a1), I. M. Gould (a1), I. M. Mackie (a2), A. H. Ritchie (a2) and G. Hobbs (a2)...
Summary

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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Copyright
References
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Asano, M. (1952). Studies on the toxic substances contained in animals. 1. Locality of the poison of Neptunea (Barbitonia) arthritica Bernardi. Bulletin of the Japanese Society of Scientific Fisheries 17, 283287.
Asano, M. & Ito, M. (1959). Occurrence of tetramine and choline compounds in the salivary gland of a marine gastropod, Neptunea arthritica Bernardi. Tohoku Journal of Agricultural Research 10, 209227.
Ayres, P. A. & Wood, P. C. (1973). Toxins in the red whelk. Marine Pollution Bulletin 4, 157159.
Fange, R. (1957). An acetylcholine-like salivary poison in the marine gastropod Neptunea antiqua. Nature 180, 196197.
Fleming, C. (1971). Case of poisoning from red whelk. British Medical Journal 3, 250251.
Graham, A. (1971). British Prosobranchs and Other Operculate Gastropod Molluscs, pp. 9697. London: Academic Press.
Kungsuwan, A., Noguchi, T., Karo, S. & Hashimoto, K. (1986). Assay method for tetramine in carnivorous gastropods. Bulletin of the Japanese Society of Scientific Fisheries 52, 881884.
Millar, J. G. & Dey, A. (1987). Food poisoning due to the consumption of red whelks (Neptunea antiqua). Communicable Diseases Scotland Weekly Report 21, no. 38, 56.
Touchstone, J. C. & Dobbins, M. F. (1978). In Practice of Thin Layer Chromatography, p. 174. New York: Wiley.
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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