US and Canadian health officials are now investigating a multistate norovirus outbreak linked to raw oysters.
Almost 200 people in Canada have reported gastrointestinal illness associated with the outbreak, and multiple people there have tested positive for norovirus, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Canadian agency said the number of people reporting illnesses has been on the decline since April 27 and the investigation into the specific source of the contamination is ongoing. The FDA has confirmed that potentially contaminated raw oysters harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, were distributed to CA, IL, MA, and WA. The FDA is advising retailers not to sell raw oysters that have been harvested from the following locations in Baynes Sound: #1402060, #1411206, #1400483, and #278757.
Health officials say people who eat shellfish should cook them until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees.
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Oysters can cause food-related illness if eaten raw, particularly in people with compromised immune systems.
The FDA is working with state health departments to remove the affected oysters from the market, according to the announcement. Individuals became sick between mid-March and mid-April 2018.
Quick steaming oysters will not kill norovirus and other pathogens, according to the CDC.
Noroviruses are a contagious group of virus that cause stomach or intestinal illness, gastroenteritis in people. People usually get sick about 12 to 48 hours after contacting the virus, and lasts for a few days.
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Since shellfish filter seawater through their bodies to get food, norovirus particles that are in the water can accumulate in the shellfish, the Washington State Department of Health said.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Diarrhea is more common in adults and vomiting is more common in children.
The FDA adds that anyone who might have consumed contaminated oysters, or who have fallen ill after eating any, should talk to their health care providers.
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