The Monterey County Health Department announced late last week that several illnesses associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked oysters had been reported in the area. The health department encouraged consumers to avoid eating raw or undercooked oysters due to potential contamination with Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacterium that causes foodborne illness.
According to the health department, consumers should avoid raw oysters or those that are lightly steamed, marinated, or prepared Rockefeller to avoid illness.
Symptoms of vibriosis, the illness caused by the ingestion of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea,
vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. The symptoms usually appear about
12 hours after eating infected shellfish, but they can begin within two
hours or as late as 48 hours after consumption. The illness is usually
moderate and lasts for two to seven days; however, it can be more
serious, even life threatening to people with weak immune systems or
chronic liver disease. Taking certain medications may make vibriosis
more likely to occur after eating shellfish.
help keep shellfish safe to eat, keep them cool from the time they are
harvested until the time they are cooked. Thorough cooking will kill
the bacteria, making the shellfish safe to eat. Food safety specialists
recommend oysters be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F to kill bacteria.