October 2, 2023

Another Food Poisoning Outbreak at Seattle Restaurant

Another food poisoning outbreak associated with the consumption of raw oysters has sickened people in Seattle, Washington. This time it’s at the White Swan Public House at 1001 Fairview Avenue North.


Raw Oysters with LemonSix people from two separate parties got sick after eating raw oysters at the restaurant on June 30 and July 3, 2017. No laboratory testing has been done, and symptoms suggest fibrosis, but public health officials cannot rule out norovirus.

Officials learned about the outbreak on July 6, 2017. Environmental health inspectors were at the restaurant on the same day. The press release states that, “No factors were identified that contribute to the spread of Vibrio, such as insufficient refrigeration temperatures or evidence of cross-contamination.”

Just like the outbreak at the Salted Sea restaurant in Seattle, which sickened three people, the outbreak was reported to the Washington State Department of Health Shellfish Program. The oysters served at the restaurant were harvested from many different growing areas and bays in Washington state and also from New Zealand. Officials could not pinpoint the particular growing area where the shellfish was harvested, so did not close any waters and did not issue any recalls.

The symptoms of ibises include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headache. The diarrhea is sometimes bloody. The illness usually begins a few hours after eating contaminated shellfish, and usually last one day up to a week. Severe illness is rare. This illness increases during the warm summer months, since the Vibrio species grow more quickly in warmer water.

The symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. The virus is very contagious. Outbreaks have been linked to contaminated food and drink and to contaminated surfaces.

To prevent this type of outbreak, always cook shellfish and other seafood thoroughly before you serve or eat it. Avoid cross contamination between raw shellfish and other foods by washing cutting boards, utensils, and other surface right after you prepare oysters, fish, or shrimp.

The Vibrio bacteria can also cause serious wound infections. If you have a cut, including scrapes, stay out of salt water and brackish water. A waterproof bandage can help prevent skin infections but is not 100% protection.

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