New Zealand recently recorded a sharp increase in Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections.

In January this year, 30 illnesses were reported compared with three in the same month of 2021.

New Zealand Food Safety had previously reminded consumers to thoroughly cook mussels with evidence suggesting that a change in water temperature and conditions may make them more susceptible to the bacteria.

Nineteen patients were reported from the Canterbury District Health Board (DHB), seven from Bay of Plenty and Lakes DHB’s and four from Auckland and Northland DHB’s. Thirteen people were hospitalized.

Sick people had eaten a variety of raw and cooked seafood including crayfish, mussels, kina, oysters, pipis, pāua, Tua Tua, bluenose, cod, snapper and warehou. Several different sequence types were also identified, meaning there was likely more than one source of contamination.

Symptoms of Vibrio parahaemolyticus may include watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and headaches. They usually occur within 24 hours of eating a contaminated product and last from one to seven days.

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