Recall for Oregon Raw Oysters Linked to Norovirus

Mar 01, 2016 07:05 AM EST | By Mark Jason Alcala

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Oregon health officials ordered a recall for oysters harvested from Yaquina Bay, Oregon which was sold to retailers, restaurant and direct to consumers. This comes after 17 people who ate them were found to have contracted norovirus according to Food Safety News.

In the notice posted last February 24, 2016 at the Oregon Health Authority website, oysters specifically sold on the date range from February 19 through March 8 are specifically targeted for recall. This is due to an unopened jug of Oregon Oysters Farms oysters recalled from a restaurant which tested positive for the same strain of norovirus found in the victims' stool samples.

Those who have bought the recalled oysters are advised to discard them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Aside from its on-site store, the company also sold the raw, ready to eat shucked oysters to restaurants and retailers in Oregon and wholesalers in Massachusetts and New York.

According to a Feb 24 statement from the Oregon Health Authority, all 17 people belong to three groups totaling 32 people who ate the oysters in different restaurants in Lincoln County have already recovered. In addition, it was revealed that only one of the 17 required hospitalization. The victims ate the contaminated oyster between February 12 and February 14.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can infect anyone. Transmission can occur through contaminated food or water or via contaminated surfaces. Because the virus inflames the stomach or the intestines, common symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Young children and older adults are most at risk for more serious symptoms of the virus.

Consuming oysters raw is popular but risky according to Emilio DeBess, state public health veterinarian with the Public Health Division's Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section. DeBess added that aside from norovirus, more serious infections like Vibrio is possible when oysters or any shellfish are eaten raw. Because of this, he recommends to cook them before eating, especially for the elderly or children whose immune may be compromised.

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