A Massachusetts Vibrio outbreak has prompted the temporary closure of oyster beds in Duxbury Bay, Kingston Bay, Bluefish River, Back River, and Plymouth Harbor. Those beds will be closed until October 8 unless more illnesses are reported.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) announced the closures after six illnesses were reported. That number of illnesses triggers the federally mandated 14-day closure, state health officials said.
During the closure, harvesting or possessing oysters from harvest areas CCB-42, CCB-43, CCB-45, CCB-46, and CCB-47 is prohibited. Commercial oyster beds are scheduled to reopen at sunrise on October 8, 2015 if no other illnesses reported. If illnesses are reported, the closure will be extended.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria naturally occurs in coastal waters during warmer months. Shellfish that is contaminated with Vibrio doesn’t smell or taste off but it does cause illness.
Symptoms of aVibrio parahaemolyticus infection include watery or bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps lasting about three days. Young children, seniors, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at highest risk for illness.
Current water temperatures in Duxbury Bay are warm enough to pose a Vibrio threat, state health officials said. Vibrio season in Massachusetts runs from May to October.