Tainted product news: Contaminated oysters cause norovirus outbreak, recalled

Legal News for Product Liability Attorneys. Mississippi and Louisiana state health authorities are looking into the source of oyster-induced norovirus cases.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials have recalled oysters after they caused victims to suffer from gastrointestinal illnesses.

Port Sulfur, LA—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.fda.gov, in participation with Mississippi and Louisiana state health officials, are looking into what may have caused oysters harvested near Port Sulfur to become contaminated, as announced by the FDA on Saturday, March 27, 2010. The probe and recall were launched after 11 people were sickened by the norovirus after eating oysters from a region known as Area 7.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) allegedly stated that its pathogen tests, taken with regard to the outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses, revealed that all 11 victims had been infected with the norovirus. All 11 patients reportedly attended an event at a conference center in Jackson, Mississippi, where the tainted shellfish had been served on March 10, 2010. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) subsequently recalled all raw oysters harvested from Area 7 between March 6 and March 24, 2010.

According to the FDA, “Norovirus is a foodborne pathogen that can cause acute gastroenteritis in humans… Symptoms of norovirus illness usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for one or two days…People with weak immune systems, including those affected by AIDS, chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach or blood disorders, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease and those taking certain medications for rheumatoid arthritis or cancer chemotherapy, should avoid raw oyster consumption altogether, regardless of where the oysters are harvested.”

Consumers who have purchased raw oysters from Area 7 should immediately discard them or contact the place of purchase for more information. Individuals who have consumed oysters from the affected area and have experienced symptoms, such as those already described, are advised to contact a health care professional or report to an area hospital as a safety precaution.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Product Liability Lawyers.