Oysters sold in multiple states recalled after dozens report illness

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(WGHP) — Oysters sold in multiple states and at least one grocery store chain are being recalled after dozens reported feeling ill after eating them.

Last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services ordered a recall for oysters harvested in the area of southeastern Galveston Bay. This includes oysters in the shell and shucked oysters harvested in the area from November 17 through December 7.

If you have a package of recently-purchased Texas oysters, the Texas DSHS says you should be able to check the packaging to see if they were harvested in “TX 1.” If the oysters were unpackaged, you are encouraged to contact the seller to determine the source.

Any oysters from TX 1 should be discarded, health officials say.

Texas DSHS says they received reports from health departments in southeast Texas and Florida of people who ate oysters from the TX 1 area becoming sick. Symptoms included fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, chills, and headache. No hospitalizations have been reported.

The symptoms closely match those of norovirus, a contagious virus that can be spread through contaminated foods, such as oysters harvested from contaminated water, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. Though this oyster recall is not listed as a norovirus outbreak being investigated by the CDC, the Texas DSHS oyster recall is listed under a “Current Outbreaks” panel on the agency’s website.

Health agencies in North Carolina and Louisiana have also issued warnings to consumers, restaurants, and stores in their states warning of the oyster recall. Nearly 40 people in Louisiana have reported feeling ill after eating the recalled oysters, according to the state’s Department of Health, as have an undisclosed number of North Carolina residents.

Recalled oysters were also sold at Publix supermarkets and GreenWise stores, the grocer confirmed.

Those who are older or pregnant, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk of illness. Anyone who is suffering from oyster-related illness symptoms such as fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, chills and headache should seek medical attention, North Carolina health officials encourage.

Oyster-related illnesses can also be reported to your local health department.

No other species of seafood is affected.

The Texas DSHS has since closed the TX 1 area to harvesting. The state’s epidemiologists are now investigating cases of illness and water samples will be collected in the TX 1 area to determine when it may be safe to reopen.

Earlier this year, oysters from British Columbia were linked to a norovirus outbreak affecting more than 190 people in 13 states.

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