Raw oysters served at restaurants in California and Nevada are the source of an outbreak that has sickened 16 people in five states. Two of them required hospitalization. The oysters, which are contaminated with Vibrio, E. coli, Shigella, Campylobacter and norovirus, were harvested in Baja California Sur, Mexico from the Estero El Cadron.
Consumers should not eat and restaurants should not serve or sell oysters from this area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises. The agency also advises consumers to eat only cooked oysters and shellfish.
The outbreak was announced earlier this week by health officials in California where 12 illnesses had been reported between February and April. Since that time, the CDC has discovered four other illnesses that are part of the outbreak.
Although the four new illnesses are reported from residents in Alaska, Illinois, Nevada and New Hampshire, all of the people who are part of this outbreak reported eating raw oysters at restaurants in California or Nevada before they became ill.
The case-patients in this outbreak, who range in age from 26 years old to 80 years old, reported onset-of-illness dates ranging from December 16, 2018 to April 4, 2019. Eleven of them are male.
Because Vibrio bacteria live in warm coastal waters, raw oysters are commonly associated with Vibrio outbreaks. They are also frequently contaminated with norovirus. But it’s pretty uncommon for oysters harvested from one area to be contaminated with a variety of bacteria and viruses. In addition to Vibrio, the oysters in this outbreak are contaminated with norovirus, E. coli, Shigella and Campylobacter bacteria.
Health officials were unable to determine the precise bacterial or viral source of illness for four of the patients, but the breakdown for the others is as follows.
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus (3)
- Vibrio albensis (1)
- Vibrio of unknown origin (1)
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus and E. coli (1)
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection and a Shigella infection (1)
- Shigella (3)
- Shigella and Campylobacter (1).
- Norovirus (1)
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