June 20, 2024

Shellfishing Stopped in New York After Vibrio Outbreak

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has temporarily closed shellfishing areas in the Town of Huntington in Suffolk County after reports of foodborne illness. Lab tests have found that a “number of illnesses” were caused by the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is naturally occurring.

Vibrio OutbreakThe ban is effective starting Friday, September 5, 2014. This precautionary measure is being taken to protect public health until investigators decide if the shellfish are safe to eat. There is no word on how many people have been sickened.

The ban on oyster harvesting affects about 4,400 acres, including all of Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor, Northport Bay, Lloyd Harbor and a portion of Huntington Bay. The ban on hard clams affects 2,300 acres and includes all of Centerport Harbor, Duck Island Harbor, and Northport Bay.

Vibrio bacteria grow when the water is warm. This issue is not caused by sewage of storm water contamination. Vibrio bacteria causes an illness characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. Symptoms occur within 24 hours of exposure. Full recovery may take up to a week, but some people become so ill they need to be hospitalized.

Public health officials remind all shellfish harvesters to shade their catch from the sun. COmmercial harvesters should always use ice or another means of chilling their catch onboard. And shellfish should be stored in self-draining containers, never in standing or stagnant water. You can find out more about closure information on DEC’s website.

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