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Source:  FDA                                      

April 10, 2022 (Washington D.C.) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canadian authorities, state and local partners, are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Norovirus illnesses linked to raw oysters that were widely distributed, including in California.

Retailers should not serve raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations within British Columbia, BC 14-8 and BC 14-15, with harvest starting as early as January 31, 2022, which will be printed on product tags.

Oysters can cause illness if eaten raw, particularly in people with compromised immune systems. Food contaminated with norovirus may look, smell, and taste normal.

What are the Symptoms of Norovirus Infection?

People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus. The most common symptoms of norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and body ache.

A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.

If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill, and vomit or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.

Symptoms of dehydration include decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy. 

If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, call your healthcare provider.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone who consumes raw shellfish is at risk of contracting norovirus. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need to Do?

Restaurants and retailers should not sell the potentially affected raw oysters. Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any products by throwing them in the garbage or returning to their distributor for destruction.

Restaurants and retailers should also be aware that the oysters may be a source of pathogens and should control the potential for cross–contamination of food processing equipment and the food processing environment.

What Do Consumers Need to Do?

People should not eat any raw oysters from the locations listed above. If they have any of the listed products, they should throw them in the garbage.

People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated raw oysters should talk to their health care providers.

For food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated oysters, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean these areas and items.

Noroviruses are relatively resistant to heat. They can survive temperatures as high as 145°F. Quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish may not heat foods enough to kill noroviruses.

  • To protect yourself and others from norovirus:
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water often.
    • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. 
    • Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
    • Do not prepare food or care for others when you are sick, and for at least two days after symptoms stop.
    • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
    • Wash contaminated laundry thoroughly.

Additional Information for Consumers 

Handwashing: A Healthy Habit in the Kitchen | Handwashing | CDC

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