crackers Posted August 3, 2006 Share Posted August 3, 2006 According to YahooNews: the FDA has advised against eating raw oysters harvested in Washington state, citing a recent rash of bacteria-caused illnesses that have sickened people on both coasts. On Friday, the Washington state Department of Health issued a recall for all oysters in the shell harvested after July 13 from closed areas in Hood Canal and south Puget Sound. Packaged oysters are not affected by the recall. There have been more than 70 reported cases of vibriosis this year in people who ate oysters in Washington, the highest number since 1997, when 58 cases were reported, Health Department spokesman Tim Church said. Church said the agency has received reports of people from Oregon, British Columbia and as far away as New York being sickened after eating raw oysters from Washington, though it's unclear if those cases were people who were shipped oysters or if they ate them in the state and later became ill. The FDA said there were also cases in California. Vibriosis is caused by vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria typically found in saltwater and one that proliferates in hot weather. It's present in all shellfish, but people most typically get sick after eating raw oysters. In healthy adults, the bacteria can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills. The illness can be fatal to those with chronic liver disease or compromised immune systems, but deaths are rare. Church said between 12 and 20 people fall ill with vibriosis annually, usually in the summer. Record temperatures in the region "which were in the 90s last week" are likely the culprit, he said. "It's a combination of warmer weather as well as low tides during warm parts of the day," he said. "All of this contributes to the growth of this bacteria." Church said that even though the recall only affects oysters from a few areas, the state is encouraging people to follow the FDA advisory. "To be on the safe side, we recommend that people think twice before eating oysters raw, especially if they come from the Puget Sound area," he said. Health officials say diners can avoid illness by eating only cooked shellfish, which have been stored cold and heated to 145 degrees. Restaurants are allowed to continue serving raw or undercooked shellfish as long as consumers are advised of the risks. The Health Department has notified restaurant and grocery trade groups of the recent outbreak. In Shelton, headquarters of Taylor Shellfish, the West Coast's largest shellfish grower, spokesman Bill Dewey said some of the company's major growing areas along Totten and Eld inlets have been closed, and that sales have been down 25 percent in the past few weeks. He said the company is taking measures to ensure customer safety. Dewey said that all shellfish being harvested are being iced, so that bacteria won't thrive. The company also is not doing any direct low tide harvest, instead putting the oysters into containers where they can sit until the next high tide cycle so they can filter out any bacteria acquired during low tide. Dewey said oyster lovers shouldn't overreact to the recent spate of illnesses. "As soon as they hear on the news something is wrong with oysters, they back off, and that's unfortunate," he said. "They don't need to stop eating oysters. It's just smart at this time of year to not eat raw oysters." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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