Oyster Beds Linked To Norovirus Outbreak Reopen

Two oyster harvest areas recently closed over concerns of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/norovirus">norovirus contamination are being reopened by the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), reports WWLTV.com.

WWLTV.com wrote that Harvest Area 7, in the Plaquemines Parish, which is located on the east side of the Mississippi River, was scheduled to be reopened at sunrise today; Harvest Area 3, which is located in St. Bernard, is scheduled to reopen tomorrow at sunrise. Both areas have been closed since March 24th. DHH officials said the water in these areas are “suitable for harvest of oysters,” adding that conditions in those areas will be monitored, said WWLTV.com.

Area 13 is located in Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes and has been closed—and remains closed to oyster harvesting—since March 30 following 13 reported illnesses at a wedding in New Orleans, WWLTV.com explained.

Eleven people reported becoming sick after eating raw oysters—which originated from Harvest Area 7—at a conference center in Mississippi. Test results by the Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed that the patients were infected with norovirus. Another 15 people fell ill after consuming oysters at a restaurant in New Orleans, said WWLTV.com; those oysters came from Harvest Area 3.

NOLA.com previously noted that the origin of the problem—contamination in the harvesting beds or by someone handling the oysters—is under review. Norovirus in oysters is challenging to both prevent and track, added NOLA.com.

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.

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