At least 34 people in California have tested positive for norovirus, possibly after consuming contaminated oysters from Canada.
According to a report on Sfist.com, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has counted 91 people who have fallen ill across the country. But officials believe that number may be much higher.
California’s health department issued an official warning this week against consuming raw oysters from British Columbia.
Details of the Outbreak Caused by Contaminated Oysters
Each of the 34 norovirus cases in California has been linked to raw and potentially contaminated oysters that were imported from British Columbia between March 11 and March 19. It’s not known at this time what specific oyster varieties may have caused these illnesses, but it appears that the contaminated oysters are linked to multiple oyster farms. The waters off British Columbia are known to be home to more than 20 varieties of oysters.
Canada’s Public Health Agency says there could be more contaminated oysters for sale in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings for 13 states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. In Canada alone, 279 norovirus cases and other gastrointestinal illnesses linked to British Columbian oysters have been reported.
Dangers of Norovirus
The CDC has warned that this is the peak season for norovirus and that outbreaks commonly occur between November and April. Norovirus is contagious and spreads quickly. It can spread through the consumption of tainted foods, such as contaminated oysters, as well as being transmitted on surfaces and through infected people. Symptoms commonly experienced by those affected include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Symptoms typically don’t surface until 12 to 48 hours after the infection.
Injured victims of food-borne illnesses can seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If you are experiencing any symptoms of food poisoning, it is important to get prompt medical attention and report your illness to your local healthcare agency. Victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will ensure that they are fairly compensated for their losses and that the negligent food producers or eateries are held accountable.