Washington State Department of Health has ordered closure of more oyster growing areas in the state following an outbreak of vibriosis related to eating raw oysters.
Most of the 86 reported cases in the state have occurred before the commercial closures of the oyster growing areas by the Department of Health on July 24. This list of closures include all recreational beaches and commercial growing areas in Hood Canal, Samish Bay, Oakland Bay, Mystery Bay, Skookum Inlet, Totten Inlet and Eld Inlet.
"The closure of all of Hood Canal is precautionary due to the number of growing areas in the canal that have now been associated with these illnesses," said Nancy Napolilli, director of the department's Office of Food Safety and Shellfish.
Vibriosis is an illness caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus that lasts for two to seven days. The best way to avoid illness is by avoiding eating raw oysters and by eating cooked oysters as the bacterium is killed when cooked at 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
The symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills which usually appear within 12 hours after eating infected shellfish, but can appear anywhere between 2 to 48 hours after consumption of an infected shellfish.
The illness, which is usually mild to moderate, can be life threatening in people with immune dysfunction or chronic liver disease. The outbreaks have been attributed to the unseasonable warm temperatures and afternoon low tides.
Once two consecutive samples from areas that have been affected by outbreak return negative, then the areas will be reopened. More information regarding closures of the oyster growing areas can be found in the agency's website (http://www.doh.wa.gov/) under "In the News."