December 7, 2009

FDA Warns Against Eating Oysters From San Antonio Bay

The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating a link between oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay and a contagious stomach virus.

According to the FDA, consumers who purchased oysters from the San Antonio Bay on or after November 16 should avoid eating them due to reports of norovirus-associated illnesses in some people.

The FDA has reported about a dozen illnesses from South Carolina and North Carolina.

"Restaurant operators and retailers should not serve or offer for sale oysters subject to this advisory," the FDA said. "Restaurant operators and retailers who are unsure of the source of oysters on hand should check with their suppliers to determine where the oysters were harvested. No other seafood is affected by this advisory."

The Texas Department of State Health Services has ordered a recall of all oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay between November 16 and November 25.

FDA spokeswoman Rita Chappelle told CNN that the illnesses reported in North Carolina and South Carolina were "definitely linked" to oysters harvested from the San Antonio Bay.

According to the FDA, "Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis. Symptoms of illness associated with norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Affected individuals often experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. Most people show symptoms within 48 hours of exposure to the virus. The illness typically lasts one to two days. Norovirus usually is not life-threatening and does not generally cause long-term effects."

The Texas Department of Health Services has closed implicated oyster beds in the San Antonio Bay as of November 26.


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