July 16, 2019

Vibrio Infections in King County Washington Double

The Seattle and King County Health Department is warning consumers of the dangers of eating raw or undercooked shellfish. The cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections in that area have doubled from the yearly average of 4 to 8, just in the month of August. There have been 13 confirmed or probably cases since July 1, 2013.

Raw OystersDr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease for Public Health said in a statement, “this is probably the tip of the iceberg. For every case that is reported, an estimated 142 additional cases go unreported.” The bacteria occur naturally in ocean waters and grow more rapidly during the summer months.

People with pre-existing medical conditions and those who take antacids regularly are at higher risk for illness. The symptoms of a Vibrio infection include moderate to severe watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea, fever, chills, and headache. To avoid this illness, thoroughly cook shellfish before eating, do not rinse cooked shellfish in seawater, which can re-contaminate them, don’t harvest shellfish from waters where harvesting has been closed, and keep raw and cooked shellfish well-refrigerated before serving.

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