A Vibrio outbreak linked to raw oysters harvested off the Baja California coast has sickened 12 people who ate them at restaurants and prepared them at home. Some of the case-patients also tested positive for Shigella, norovirus and E. coli.

California health officials advise consumers that shellfish should be consumed only after it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 145˚ F to reduce the risk of illness from foodborne pathogens.

The illnesses were reported in February, March and April in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties. Health officials conducted a traceback investigation and determined that the oysters were harvested from Estero El Cardon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. They are advising restaurants and retailers to refrain from using oysters from this area at this time.

Oysters

What is Vibrio?

Vibrio bacteria occur naturally in warm, coastal waters. During summer months, when the water gets warmer, they multiply more quickly and therefore found in higher concentrations. There are several species of Vibrio including Vibrio vulnificusVibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio cholerae (cholera).

Eating food contaminated with Vibrio can cause a bacterial infection called vibriosis. These infections can cause serious illness and death. About half of all vibriosis infections from Vibrio vulnificus are fatal.

About 80,000 illnesses, 500 hospitalizations and100 deaths are attributed to Vibrio each year in the U.S. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that millions of vibriosis cases are unreported annually.

People over 65 and those with liver disease, cancer or compromised immune systems are at heightened risk for these infections and their serious complications such as sepsis.

Three case-patients in this outbreak were sickened by Vibrio parahaemolyticus and one person was sickened by Vibrio albensis. Symptoms associated with illness from these species include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever and chills. These symptoms usually develop within 24 hours of ingestion and last about three days.

Pritzker Hageman attorneys have represented people sickened by Vibrio and families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. To request a free consultation with our Vibrio Team, call 1(888) 377-8900 toll-free, send a text to 612-261-0856 or use the form below.

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