December 18, 2017

Samish Bay WA Oyster Beds Closed After Vibrio Illness

The Washington State Department of Health has confirmed that oysters from Samish Bay is the source of at least one Vibrio illness, commercial harvesting has been ended until September 30, 2014. Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness in people.

Raw Oyster PlateThere have been nine reports of Vibrio illness this summer in Washington state. The latest confirmed illness is linked to a commercial, not recreational, harvest. There is no word on which specific commercial grower the contaminated shellfish came from.

Low tides, hot weather, and sunshine increase the bacteria’s population in the summer. Anyone who harvests oysters in that area should cook them to be safe. Vibrio are killed by cooking temperatures. In fact, the government suggests that all shellfish harvested in that state from June through September be cooked to avoid Vibrio illness.

The symptoms of Vibrio illness include nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea within about 24 hours. Symptoms usually last two to five days.

If you do plan to harvest oysters or other shellfish in Washington state, check with the state’s new online shellfish safety map. It shows conditions and closures in real time.

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