Washington State Issues Emergency Shellfish Recall After Illness Reported

Consuming raw seafood is always a gamble, and for a dozen people it turned out to be an unsuccessful wager. And so, Washington state health officials are ordering an emergency harvest closure and recall of shellfish shipped throughout the country.

The Seattle Times reports that state officials initiated the recall and harvest closure after at least 12 people who ate raw oysters from the Hammersley Inlet became ill.

Officials suspect norovirus in the illnesses, as laboratory tests have confirmed the infection in two people.

The recall includes 48,000 oysters and more than 3,000 pounds of Manila clams processed from November 10 to December 5. The shellfish was distributed to stores in Oregon, Nevada, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, California, New York, Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia.

Health officials tell the Times they identified the issue using the state’s shellfish-tracking system, which tags commercial harvested shellfish with locations and dates.

While an investigation into the companies in Hammersley Inlet that harvest and ship shellfish did not find an apparent source of the contamination, a site visit to surrounding areas identified a leaking septic system that many be the source of the contamination.

A temporary fix was put in place, while a permanent repair is worked on.

Raw oysters sicken 12, prompt shellfish harvest closure and recall [The Seattle Times]

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