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Texas Oysters Recalled After Norovirus Outbreak

Health

Oysters with knife | Image by Shutterstock

Contaminated oyster consumption has apparently caused an outbreak of norovirus across eight states, with over 200 people reporting illness after consuming oysters harvested from Galveston’s coast.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus known to cause gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. This virus spreads through infected people as well as contaminated foods and surfaces.

Outbreaks of this virus occur most often between November and April.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked a multistate outbreak to the consumption of raw oysters harvested in Texas. The agency said 211 illnesses had been reported as of December 15, recorded across Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Multiple Texas fisheries and fishing areas were closed due to reported illnesses, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Florida Department of Health notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of illnesses caused by the consumption of raw oysters harvested from the TX 1 area in Galveston Bay on December 8.

The next day, DSHS ordered a recall of any and all oysters harvested in that area after receiving reports of gastrointestinal illness among people who had consumed oysters from that area. That recall included oysters in the shell and shucked oysters harvested in the location from mid-November through December 7.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that some North Carolina stores and restaurants would be affected by the Texas recall after discovering cases of illness.

The NCDHHS said that consuming raw, lightly cooked, or undercooked oysters could result in illness, warning that some viruses found in oysters can survive the cooking process.

People with compromised immune systems, children, the elderly, and pregnant women were deemed as being the most at risk.

The FDA advises that consumers, restaurants, and retailers dispose of any oysters caught within the TX 1 area of Galveston Bay between November 17 and December 7.

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