June 15, 2024

FDA Investigating Raw Oyster Shigella Outbreak That Sickened Five

The FDA is investigating a subset of the Shigella, Vibrio, E. coli, and Campylobacter outbreak that is linked to raw oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. That agency is looking at the five people sickened with Shigella infections. Patients sickened in this raw oyster Shigella outbreak got ill in early 2019.

FDA Investigating Shigella Outbreak Linked to Imported Raw Oysters

The outbreak notice states that restaurants that sell raw oysters in California, Nevada, New York, and Arizona are part of the investigation. The oysters were sold to wholesale distributors with direct sales to restaurants and were not sold to consumers through grocery retail stores.

Consumers should not purchase oysters marketed as being harvested from Estero El Cardon, in Baja California Sur, Mexico from restaurants. If you are not sure where the raw oysters you want to order came from, ask the restaurant. If they can’t give you an answer do not order or eat them.

If restaurants have any oysters with harvest tags that indicate a growing area of Estero El Cardon, throw them away. Those products should not be served to customers.

The patients in this Shigella outbreak got sick after eating raw oysters that were produced between the harvesting dates of February 12, 2019 and April 9, 2019. Five patients are ill with Shigella flexneri infections. One of those five patients was hospitalized. The last illness onset date was April 17, 2019.

Laboratory analysis confirmed that the reported illnesses matched pathogens that were found in product samples. Traceback information led to the Estero El Cardon harvesting region.

Patients live in California, Nevada, and New Hampshire, but the New Hampshire case ate at a restaurant in California before getting sick. Additional states may have received these potentially contaminated oysters, either directly from Mexico or through further distribution in the U.S.

The Estero El Cardon growing region was closed by Mexican Shellfish Sanitation Program authorities on May 7, 2019. Oyster harvesting has been halted. Since the shelf-life of fresh, raw oysters is limited, the oysters from this growing area should no longer be available to consumers.

Symptoms of a Shigella infection include diarrhea that can sometimes be bloody, abdominal pain, vomiting and tenesmus, or the painful sensation of needing to pass stools even when bowels are empty. If you ate raw oysters and have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this raw oyster Shigella outbreak.


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