At least 30 people in Washington have confirmed cases of vibriosis (infection from Vibrio bacteria) that may be associated with commercially grown oysters. The Washington State Department of Health closed three commercial growing areas: Totten Inlet near Olympia, North Bay and Dabob Bay in north Hood Canal. These growing areas are closed for the rest of the summer due to Vibrio bacteria, which are common in warm weather conditions. Once water temperatures begin to cool in October, these growing areas will reopen.
People get vibriosis from eating raw or undercooked oysters that have Vibrio bacteria in them.There are several types of Vibrio that cause illness, the most common of which are Vibrio vulnificus (V. vulnificus) and Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. parahaemolyticus).
Contact our law firm for a free consultation if you were sickened by raw oysters eaten at a restaurant.
Vibriosis symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. Symptoms usually appear 12-24 hours after eating infected shellfish, and can last two to seven days. Vibriosis can be life-threatening for people with low immunity or chronic liver disease. Also at greater risk are people who take antacids, heart or diabetes medication, or who’ve had antibiotic or cancer treatments recently.
“Shellfish is among our favorite local foods in Washington,” said Jerrod Davis, director of the Office of Shellfish and Water Protection. “Some simple steps can keep you healthy after that wonderful summer barbecue.”
Vibrio food poisoning is a problem during summer months when warm temperatures and low tides allow bacteria to grow. In addition to Totten Inlet, North Bay and Dabob Bay, other growing areas are closed periodically because of high bacterial levels and also biotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning.
To protect your family from vibriosis, put shellfish on ice or refrigerate immediately after you buy or harvest them this summer. Make sure you’re buying from a reputable source that handles shellfish correctly with good cooling practices (refrigeration or ice).