Washington has recalled live oysters harvested from Samish Bay after a record outbreak of Vibrio bacterial infections from shellfish, particularly oysters.
As of July 29, there were 75 lab-confirmed cases of vibriosis, and health officials said there were likely many more unreported cases.
Most of the illnesses are linked to raw oysters. A recall was issued for all oysters harvested from Samish Bay after June 29. The area is still closed and will not reopen until at least August 6.
Back in mid-July, the Washington State Department of Health first warned about a spike in oyster and shellfish illnesses due to triple-digit temperatures and low tides.
Only halfway through July, the health department reported that an outbreak of Vibrio infections in Washington had already passed the highest number of cases ever recorded by the state for July.
At least 52 people developed infections with Vibrio as of July 16, compared to 5 illnesses in July 2020 and 25 illnesses in July 2018.
“Vibrio bacteria thrive in warm temperatures. When midday low tides coincide with warm weather, Vibrio bacteria can grow quickly, increasing risk of illness among people who eat raw or undercooked oysters,” the health department warned.
The symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. The illness usually occurs within 4 hours to 4 days after eating raw or undercooked contaminated shellfish.
Most healthy adults recover in about 2 to 3 days, but serious illnesses can occur in people with vulnerable immune systems or liver disease.