Nine people have reported ill after consuming raw or lightly steamed oysters.

Florida Oysters Linked to Cholera Outbreak: FDA

Nine people have reported ill after consuming raw or lightly steamed oysters that were harvested from Area 1642 of Apalachicola Bay, Fla.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers, restaurant operators, commercial shippers, and processors of shellfish not to eat, serve, purchase, sell, or ship oysters from Area 1642 in Apalachicola Bay, Fla., because the oysters may be contaminated with toxigenic Vibrio cholerae serogroup O75. This advisory applies to live in-shell and shucked fresh or frozen oysters from the area.

Nine people have reported ill after consuming raw or lightly steamed oysters. For eight, the illness was confirmed as caused by toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O75; laboratory confirmation is pending in the other person. No one was hospitalized or died.

Tracing indicates that oysters harvested from Area 1642 in Apalachicola Bay, Fla., between March 21 and April 6, 2011, are associated with illness, typically characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The symptoms begin from a few hours up to five days after consumption of raw or undercooked seafood, particularly shellfish, or after ingestion of surface waters.

People at risk are those who traveled to Florida and consumed oysters that were harvested from Area 1642 of Apalachicola Bay or who purchased oysters in a state to which these oysters or oyster product were distributed and ate them.

Those who have recently purchased oysters should check with the place of purchase and ask if they were harvested from the affected growing area. If the oysters were definitely or possibly harvested from Area 1642 in Apalachicola Bay, Fla., and have not yet been consumed, they should not be eaten.

Those with weakened immune systems, including people affected by AIDS, chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach, or blood disorders, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease should avoid eating raw oysters, regardless of where they are harvested, FDA said.

The oysters or oyster product were initially distributed in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina. However, subsequent distribution to other states may have occurred.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Aquaculture closed Area 1642 on April 29 and has asked commercial oyster harvesters and dealers who obtained oysters from this area to recall them.

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