Self-harvesters who are out in search of shellfish need to stay away from closed areas.

Island Health is seeing a number of self-harvesters become ill after eating shellfish that were caught in these closed areas.

Medical Health Officer Dr Paul Hasselback says people come down with a number of illnesses ranging in severity from short-term to longer-term ailments.

Toxic forms of algae can enter shellfish, including clams, oysters, whole scallops and mussels.

While the critters don’t appear ill or contaminated, eating them, even after they’re cooked can result in diarrhoea, vomiting, numbness, tingling, and reduced coordination.

Hasselback says closed areas need to be avoided because they’re monitored closely.

Hasselback didn’t provide details about the number of cases that have come up in the last week because, often times, people don’t seek treatment for their symptoms, rendering the numbers unreliable.

For a map of the shellfish harvesting status and closed areas, click here.