Raw oysters from Canada are likely behind a norovirus outbreak that has sickened about 100 people here in California. According to a report on Time.com, the California Department of Public Health has said the oysters in question came from Baynes Sound in British Columbia. Several people have tested positive for norovirus, a highly contagious infection. Nearly 200 people in Canada have reported symptoms of the illness as well. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers that this problem may extend well beyond Canada and California.
The tainted oysters were also distributed to other states such as New York, Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington. The FDA is urging retailers and consumers not to serve or eat oysters that were harvested in four locations within Baynes Sound. The agency is also working with state health departments to get these affected oysters off the market. The farms that produced these oysters have been closed during the investigation.
Symptoms of a Norovirus Infection
A norovirus infection could cause the sudden onset of severe diarrhea and vomiting as well as abdominal pain or cramps, malaise, fever and muscle pain. It is highly contagious and commonly spread through food or water that is contaminated during preparation. You could also become infected through close contact with an infected person. Symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting begin typically 12 to 48 hours after exposure, and last roughly three days.
While most people recover without treatment, for some, particularly infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, vomiting and diarrhea can be severely dehydrating, and require medical attention. If you have diarrhea that doesn’t go away with a couple of days, seek medical attention. Also, get to a hospital or emergency room right away if you have bloody stools, severe vomiting or dehydration.
If You Have Become Ill
The best step to take is not to avoid raw oysters until the outbreak dies down. If you have been sickened after consuming oysters at home or at a restaurant, be sure you seek medical attention right away. Save your receipt from the restaurant or retailer where you purchased the food. Report your illness to the California Department of Public Health or your local health care agency, which tracks these outbreaks.
You may be able to receive compensation for your damages and losses including but not limited to medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of diagnostic tests, and pain and suffering. An experienced California food poisoning lawyer will be able to fight for your rights and help secure maximum compensation for your losses.