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Screening of Human Phycotoxin Poisoning Symptoms in Coastal Communities of Nigeria: Socio-Economic Consideration of Harmful Algal Blooms

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: A screening of human phycotoxin poisoning symptoms was done in the coastal communities of Nigeria, every quarter for one year, using structured questionnaires. A multi-stage sampling technique consisting of cluster, snowballing, convenience purposive and random sampling was applied in the study. Based on the responses, a total of 17 Harmful algal toxin-related poisoning symptoms were recorded from respondents, who experienced these symptoms from seafood consumption. The symptoms were Balance difficulty, Breathing difficulty, Burning sensation, Chills, Confusion, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Body itching, Headache, Memory loss, Mouth tingling, Muscle pain, Nausea, Rashes, Abdominal pain, Tiredness and Vomiting. These could be grouped into five categories of diseases namely, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, Neurological, Dermatological, and Musculo-Skeletal symptoms. The most commonly experienced symptoms were vomiting (24 ), mouth tingling (21 ), Nausea (14 ), diarrhea (11 ), headache (10 ), tiredness (9 ) and body itching (8 ) and the least were muscle pain, rashes, confusion, chills, dizziness, balance difficulty burning sensation, breathing difficulty and abdominal pain. Statistical analyses revealed a nexus and significant relationship between visible symptoms and: seafood; season; water colour; habitats environment of dead seafood and age of respondents. Symptoms enlisted are reminiscent of harmful algal blooms, with grave consequences for public health, commercial fisheries, recreation, tourism, monitoring management. Therefore, preventive measures, requiring routine monitoring of water bodies, coupled with greater public awareness is suggested for early detection of occurrence of toxin-producing symptoms.

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