Risk of polio by eating some Zeeland shellfish

800px-Shellfish,_Mercado_dos_Lavradores,_Funchal_-_Nov_2010
. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Alexander Baxevanis

The National Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) warns that shellfish that are collected in the eastern art of the Westerschelde may be infected with the polio virus.

Due to an incident in Belgium in early September, water contaminated with the polio virus ended up in De Laan river. De Laan is a tributary of the Dyle river, which flows into the Westerschelde via the Rupel and the Schelde. The contaminated water will reach the Westerschelde soon, but by that time it will be so diluted that people won't get infected by coming into contact with the water.

As the virus can accumulate in shellfish, eating them increases the risk of infection. According to the RIVM and NVWA, shellfish that are collected east of the line Kruiningen-Perkpolder must be heated to above 100 degrees Celsius for at least half a minute. This will kill the virus and stop the risk of infection.

Farmed shellfish are sold in shops and restaurants in the Westeschelde. Most shellfish farms are located in the Ooserschelde, where the polio virus from Belgium will not reach. There is no risk of infection from shellfish bought from restaurants or stores. This advice only applies to shellfish that people collected themselves.

There is no risk of infection further to the west of the Westerschelde. The water is further diluted there and the virus will have died by time it reaches that area.

Tags: