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Alert Issued For Raw Oyster Norovirus Outbreak

Consumers may want to stay away from oysters for a stretch following a norovirus outbreak.
Consumers may want to stay away from oysters for a stretch following a norovirus outbreak. Photo Credit: foodsafety.gov

Consumers should stay away from raw oysters for now, according to federal officials, who have issued an alert regarding potentially contaminated products that may leave some sick.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with federal, state, and local officials regarding a norovirus outbreak linked to raw oysters from Canada, which have made their way to the area, with the FDA noting that “oysters can cause food-related illness if eaten raw, particularly in people with compromised immune systems.”

Food contaminated with noroviruses may look, smell, and taste normal, according to the FDA. Most people infected with Norovirus develop diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Diarrhea tends to be watery and non-bloody. Diarrhea is more common in adults and vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms typically manifest within a day or two of consumption.

According to the FDA, consumers should:

  • People should not eat any raw oysters from the locations listed above. If they have any of the listed products, they should throw them in the garbage.
  • People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated raw oysters should talk to their healthcare providers.
  • Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.
  • For food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated oysters, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean these areas and items.

"People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated oysters should talk to their healthcare providers. Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine."

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