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Health authorities are warning people not to eat mussels and other shellfish caught in Victoria’s Gippsland Lakes region as they test for a rare and potentially fatal toxin.

Authorities say they have detected high levels of Pseudonitzschia delicatissima, an uncommon and potentially dangerous algae, in water samples at Eagle Point, Paynesville and Metung in the Gippsland Lakes.

Seafood that consumes this algae — especially “filter feeders” like mussels and other shellfish — can in turn infect anyone who eats them.

Recreational fishers in particular are being warned to avoid shellfish from the Gippsland Lakes region.

There are no reports anyone has become ill from this seafood, but Victoria’s health department says anyone who has become infected may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps within about 24 hours. In that case, a doctor should be consulted.

The department said the likelihood of a serious risk to human health was low but the advice was a precaution until further testing confirmed whether or not the shellfish were safe to eat.

Click HERE to view the Fact Sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services