February 28, 2024

Raw Shellfish Linked to Severe Vibrio Outbreak in Connecticut

Raw shellfish is linked to a severe Vibrio outbreak in Connecticut, according to the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. Since July 1, 2023, three cases of Vibrio vulnificus have been reported. Those patients consumed raw shellfish or were exposed to salt or brackish water along Long Island Sound.

Raw Shellfish Linked to Severe Vibrio Outbreak in Connecticut

The patient age range is from 60 to 80 years of age. All three patients were hospitalized, and one died. One patient reported eating raw oysters from an out-of-state establishment that was not named in the press release. Two of the patients reported exposure to the water in Long Island Sound. Both of those patients had pre-existing open cuts or wounds or sustained wounds during these activities.

DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, said in a statement, “The identification of these severe cases, including one fatality, due to V. vulnificus is concerning. People should consider the potential risk of consuming raw oysters and exposure to salt or brackish water and take appropriate precautions. Particularly during the hottest months of the summer, bacteria are more likely to overgrow and contaminate raw shellfish. Given our current heat wave, this may be a time to exercise particular caution in what you consume.”

Vibrio vulnificus ia a very rare illness, with no cases reported in 2022 and 2021, and five in 2020 in Connecticut. About one in five patients who contract this infection die.

Reduce your chance of getting sick with a Vibrio vulnifricus infection by avoiding eating raw or undercooked oysters and shellfish. Boil these foods until the shells open, and continue boiling for five minutes longer. Steamed shellfish should be steamed until the shells open, then steamed for nine minute longer. If you have a wound from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo, or a wound from an accident, stay out of saltwater or brackish water. This includes wading at the beach.

Symptoms of a Vibrio vulnificus infection from eating raw seafood include abrupt symptom onset and includes fever, chills, skin blisters, and a drop in blood pressure. Some people can suffer from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

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