Louisiana Oysters Recalled After Norovirus Outbreak

Another recall of oysters over concerns regarding norovirus has been announced, Louisiana is recalling oysters harvested in part of Plaquemines Parish area following 11 illnesses in people who attended a seafood conference on March 1 in Mississippi, writes New Orleans City Business. According to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, there has been one hospitalization. That person has since been released.

New Orleans City Business said that the recall involves oysters harvested since March 6 from Basin 4, Area 7 and, according to Health Officer Jimmy Guidry, the area will be closed for at least three weeks. The recall involves all “shucked, frozen, breaded, and post-harvest processed oysters and oysters for the half-shell market,” said New Orleans City Business, which noted that cooking kills norovirus, but undercooked oysters can spread <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/norovirus">norovirus.

Food poisoning outbreaks involving oysters are not unusual. Late last year we wrote that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers to avoid eating oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay due to reports of norovirus-associated illnesses in some people who had consumed oysters harvested from this area, which is located on the Gulf of Texas. About one dozen people were sickened resulting in the Texas Department of State Health Services ordering a recall.

Just prior, oysters harvested from Mississippi Area 2C were believed linked to about one dozen norovirus illnesses, according to the FDA. Mississippi Area 2C is in the Mississippi Sound portion of the Gulf of Mexico near Pass Christian, Mississippi. Eleven individuals reported becoming sick after eating raw oysters at a restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, fever, headaches, chills, muscle ache, tiredness, and diarrhea; in general, children experience more vomiting than adults. The norovirus strikes quickly and generally lasts one-to-two days. Sometimes. people also develop a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. There is no cure for the norovirus and patients sometimes need to be given fluids intravenously to combat the dehydration caused by frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus is not helped with antibiotic treatment.

Norovirus is not one, but actually a group of viruses that are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. Norovirus spreads easily and quickly with people becoming infected when eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth; or having direct contact with another person infected and showing symptoms, for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill. Norovirus can survive for weeks on surfaces at room temperature, can be difficult to eliminate, and can only be killed with chorine bleach. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and other preparations are not too helpful. Norovirus outbreaks occur frequently in closed populations.

Persons with weakened immune systems, including those affected by AIDS, and persons with chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach or blood disorders, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease should avoid raw oyster consumption altogether, regardless of from where the oysters are harvested.

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