Oysters from the Baja Sur region of Mexico are linked to an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses that sickened at least 12 people in California between February and April 2019.
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Raw Oysters Linked to Illness Outbreak in California
May 3, 2019 — The California Department of Public Health is warning that 12 people fell ill with a “gastrointestinal illness” after eating raw oysters that were harvested from Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Where Did People Get Sick?
The illnesses occurred between February and April 2019. All of the victims ate raw oysters from seafood restaurants or stores in San Diego County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Santa Barbara County.
What is the Problem?
Laboratory testing of oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon in Mexico have identified at least 6 different pathogens, including E. coli, several types of Vibrio, Shigella, and norovirus.
Contaminated Oysters Were Sold Across California
The illness could potentially affect people across California, as the raw oysters were distributed state-wide, according to health officials:
“Restaurants and retailers can protect customers by checking their inventory and shellfish tags that are required to identify the source to avoid any raw oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon in Baja California Sur, Mexico.”
What Should I Do?
Consumers should ask the retailer or restaurant about the source if the product is not labeled or identified.
California residents should visit their doctors if they become ill after eating raw oysters, as well as report their illness to their local health department.
If you do eat shellfish, cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145°F. Quick steaming is not sufficient to prevent gastrointestinal illness from these pathogens.
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