In a follow-up to a report last week concerning a Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak linked to raw oyster consumption in Seattle, Washington, Public Health — Seattle & King County officials say as many as 25 people may have become ill since early June.
The health department investigation is looking at multiple reports of persons ill with watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and vomiting – symptoms consistent with vibriosis – after eating raw oysters from one of several restaurants and markets in King County :
For each retail/restaurant location reported, Environmental Health inspectors conducted on site investigations to ensure that the oysters were from approved sources, being cold held properly (at refrigeration temperatures at or below 41°F) and handled in such a way to minimize the risk of cross-contaminations (where bacteria from one bad oyster could be spread to a whole batch, or to other foods). The Vibrio bacterium is naturally found in salty, brackish waters where oysters are grown. Therefore, while temperature violations before and after delivery to restaurants can contribute to the growth of Vibrio, the restaurants are not the direct source of Vibrio in oysters.
How do you minimize the risk of Vibriosis?
According to Public Health — Seattle & King County epidemiologist, Jenny Lloyd: To minimize the risk of Vibrio infection, practice safe shellfish preparation (such as keeping shellfish cold (less than 41°F) and cook shellfish thoroughly, following these guidelines. People who take antacids, have suppressed immune systems, or some other chronic health conditions are more likely to get sick and should consider avoiding raw oyster consumption.
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