Seafood Recalled Due to E. Coli and Norovirus – Multiple Hospitalizations

CDC has posted a food safety alert about a multistate outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses linked to raw oysters imported from Mexico at https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/investigations/rawoysters-05-19/index.html.

Key points:

  • CDC and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses linked to raw oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon, an estuary in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
  • On May 6, 2019, one U.S. distributor of oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon issued a voluntary recall.
  • On May 7, 2019, Estero El Cardon was closed to further oyster harvesting pending investigation.
  • Sixteen ill people were reported from five states (Alaska, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Nevada).
  • Two of the people were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • Illnesses started from December 16, 2018, to April 4, 2019.
  • People were infected with one or more of the following pathogens: VibrioShigellaCampylobacter, norovirus, and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli non-O157. Common symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
  • Symptoms typically start one to four days after the pathogen is consumed and last for up to a week. Most people recover without treatment.
  • You may be more likely to develop a more serious illness if you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease or weakened immune systems.
  • An outbreak of multiple pathogens can occur when a common food source becomes contaminated with multiple bacteria and viruses at once. The investigation into why multiple pathogens are causing illness in this outbreak is ongoing.
  • CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.

Advice to Consumers:

  • Do not eat, serve, or sell oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon, an estuary in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
  • In general, CDC advises against eating raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish.
  • Any raw oysters, not just the raw oysters linked to this outbreak, could contain harmful germs that could make you sick. Cook them thoroughly before eating.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling raw shellfish.
  • More advice on handling and cooking oysters can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/prevention.html#cooking
  • Talk to your doctor if you think you became sick after eating raw or undercooked oysters.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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