U.S – Authorities from the state and the federal government are looking into a multi-state outbreak of Norovirus infections linked to raw oysters from Texas.
To date, 211 persons are believed to have fallen ill in the outbreak that has spread from the Gulf Coast to Georgia and Tennessee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While it meets with state officials, the federal agency is still working to determine a precise number of illnesses.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on December 15 regarding oysters obtained from Galveston Bay, Texas’s harvest region TX 1.
The warning was issued after about 30 people got sick.
“On Dec. 8, 2022, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a recall on all oysters harvested between 11/17/2022 and 12/7/2022 from harvest area TX 1, Galveston Bay, Texas. They also informed the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference and notified other member states.
“This resulted in other states initiating recall measures consistent with the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference Agreement,” the CDC notice states.
72 persons in the New Orleans region were reported to have fallen ill after eating raw oysters, according to the website iwaspoisoned.com.
The website’s creator, Patrick Quade, claims that those complaints began to come in on November 30.
The CDC reports that the affected states are Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
“Restaurants and food retailers should not serve raw oysters from harvest area TX 1, Galveston Bay, Texas, harvested between Nov. 17, 2022, and Dec. 7, 2022, which will be printed on product tags.
“The FDA has confirmed that raw oysters harvested in area TX 1, Galveston Bay, Texas, were potentially contaminated with Norovirus and distributed to restaurants and retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. It is possible that additional states received these oysters through further distribution within the U.S,” according to the CDC alert.
The CDC warns that oysters and other filter-feeding shellfish may carry bacteria and viruses that, if consumed uncooked, might result in illness or even death.
Consuming raw shellfish puts one at risk of getting Norovirus.
Severe infections are more common in children under the age of five, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Norovirus symptoms can include vomiting and/or diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, fever, and headache which might appear anywhere between 12 and 48 hours after exposure and continue up to three days.
While the majority of individuals bounce back without assistance, some people may require medical care for dehydration if their vomiting or diarrhea is particularly severe.
People who have Norovirus are more likely to infect others. The virus can persist on surfaces for a very long time.
Norovirus-contaminated food may appear, smell, or taste normal.
Consumers are advised to cook oysters well until they reach a temperature of at least 145 degrees F to prevent food poisoning.
Last year, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), also ordered Dorset Oyster, the shellfish providers of choice for top restaurants and chefs in the Kingdom, to recall their products due to Norovirus concerns.