December 15, 2017

Washington Shellfish Recalled After Norovirus Outbreak

According to the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC), Washington state has issued a recall of shellfish after a norovirus-like outbreak occurred after an event. The Washington State Department of Health has also issued a notice. At least six people were sickened in this Oregon outbreak; two cases have been confirmed as Norovirus.

Raw Oyster PlateThe event had 100 attendees; about half ate oysters harvested from Hook Canal 5 and Hammersley Inlet in Mason County. Oysters are not definitively linked to the outbreak, since only 10% of the attendees of the event were interviewed, hand-washing facilities were not adequate so an ill employee could have contaminated foods, and the event was crowded so person-to-person transmission could have occurred.

But, the Washington State Department of Health then received two additional cases in other areas; those patients ate oysters harvested from Hammersley Inlet. Then an additional report of norovirus-like illnesses were received from a festival in Seattle; oysters from Hammersley Inlet were served at that event. At least a dozen people who ate raw oysters have been sickened.

All companies who harvested and supplied the oysters were inspected; no problems were found. But a shoreline survey found a failing septic system that could be the source of the illness. A portion of the southern shoreline of the Hammersley Inlet Shellfish Growing Area, from SE Mell Road east to Skookum Point was implicated in multiple reports of oyster-associated norovirus illness and closed until further notice and a recall was issued.

The recall involved three companies: JDK Shellfish of Washington state, South Sound Mariculture, and Hama Hama. States that received these oysters included Oregon, Nevada, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, California, New York, Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia. Canada and Hong Kong also received the shellfish. All together, 4,000 dozen oysters and 3,000 pounds are being recalled. Production dates are November 10, 2014 to December 5, 2014. The recall has been expanded to include additional companies; more information is pending.

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