Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/56

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44
MOLLUSCA.


MUSSELS.
"The town," says Dr. Combe, "was in a ferment, and the magistrates with great propriety issued a warning against the use of the mussels. Many deaths were reported, and hundreds of individuals were stated to be suffering under the effects of the poison. Luckily, matters were not so deplorable; but we ascertained that in addition to the man mentioned before, the companion of our patient, an elderly woman, had died. In all about thirty cases occurred, with great uniformity of symptoms, but varying very much in severity; but none, so far as I know, have left any permanent bad effects."[1]

The cause of this occasional liability to become poisonous seems involved in almost total obscurity. Dr. Johnston, who discusses at some length the many loose and vague conjectures that have been hazarded on the subject, has shown, that not one of them is tenable, unless it be that in some cases the poisonous principle proceeds from some particular food which, not fatal to the Mollusks, yet gene-

  1. Edin. Med. and Surg. Journal, xxix. p. 88.