40 claim sickness from eating oysters at local bar

Oysters

December 21, 2009 9:00:00 PM PST
André Pierce, Director of the Environmental Health and Safety Division of Wake Human Services confirms they are investigating complaints of illness among people who ate at 42nd St. Oyster Bar in Raleigh. Pierce says calls about being sick started coming in a week ago. About 40 people have claimed to have become sick after eating oysters at the famous seafood restaurant. It appears that 42nd St. Oyster Bar does not serve San Antonio Bay oysters. Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State and Health recalled San Antonio Bay oysters contaminated with norovirus. Pierce says an inventory on November 30th showed there were not any at 508 West Jones Street.

It should be noted there are certain dangers associated with eating uncooked Gulf Coast oysters. These oysters are contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria. Vibrio vulnificus thrive in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast of Florida, where the bacteria occur naturally. Vibrio vulnificus septicemia is a blood infection that comes as a result of ingesting raw oysters that contain this bacteria. Side effects of the blood sickness can range from symptoms as mild as an upset stomach to fatality, depending on the amount ingested and the body's ability to fight off the bacteria.

People suffering from Vibrio vulnificus septicemia are contagious for up to seven days after contracting the sickness, since it stays in their stool. According to the FDA, about 50-60 people in the U.S. are infected with the blood illness annually. Of these, approximately half of them die.

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