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KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxin Closes Some Harvesting Beds In South Puget Sound For First Time

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Washington’s Department of Health closed some shellfish beds in South Puget Sound Wednesday for the first time because of elevated levels of diarrhetic shellfish toxin.

The biotoxin, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting, appears to be spreading in Puget Sound.

It made three people sick after eating mussels harvested in Sequim Bay in 2011. That was the first time anyone had been officially diagnosed with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in the United States.

The Washington Department of Health’s Jerry Borchert oversees the monitoring and shellfish bed closures. He works at the department’s lab in Shoreline, where testing Wednesday of mussels from Budd Inlet near Olympia determined they had elevated levels of the toxins that cause diarrhetic shellfish poisoning.

Read the full story at KUOW's EarthFix.