Minnesota: Norovirus outbreak sickens dozens, linked to raw oysters

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Minnesota health authorities and local health officials are working with federal officials and public health agencies in other states and Canada to investigate norovirus illnesses associated with oysters harvested from Bay 14-8 in Columbia. British.


Twenty-nine Minnesotans have been sick in this outbreak. They fell ill with confirmed or suspected norovirus gastroenteritis after eating raw oysters at Travail Kitchen in Robbinsdale on March 20. The oysters served were Stellar Bay Gold oysters harvested on March 10 at Deep Bay 14-8 CLF #140706 in British Columbia, Canada.

“Travail Kitchen quickly brought the cases to our attention and immediately stopped serving oysters,” said Duane Hudson, Hennepin County Public Health Officer, Environmental Health Officer. “We are grateful to Labor for helping to protect the public from foodborne illness.”

Norovirus: Dozens affected in British Columbia, linked to raw oysters

Although parts of the harvesting area have been closed, it is likely that oysters from this area are still on the market. With that in mind, officials are urging restaurants and distributors to check shellfish labels and discard oysters from that harvest area. Consumers can ask oyster suppliers or restaurants to check the shellfish label for harvest location. Noroviruses and other pathogens found in raw oysters can be destroyed by cooking them at 145 degrees Fahrenheit before eating them.

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Symptoms of norovirus typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps that begin 12 to 48 hours after ingesting the virus. There is currently a high level of norovirus disease activity in Minnesota, and most of it is not associated with oyster consumption.

“People with norovirus can pass it on to others even after symptoms stop,” said MDH epidemiologist supervisor Carlota Medus. “The best way to limit the spread is to wash your hands well with soap and water after using the toilet and before preparing food for others.”