Oysters from Mexico region linked to gastrointestinal illness outbreak, California officials say

Oyster lovers, beware: Raw oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon in Baja California Sur, Mexico, have been linked to a gastrointestinal illness outbreak in California.

Officials with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) shared the news late last week, announcing between February and April at least 12 consumers who ate the oysters sold by various establishments in four counties —  Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and San Diego — later fell ill with “gastrointestinal illness.”

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The illness could potentially affect residents in other counties across California, as the raw oysters, which were later determined to be infected with various sickness-causing pathogens such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus and norovirus, were distributed statewide, officials said.

The illness could potentially affect residents in other counties across California, as the raw oysters, which were later determined to be infected with various sickness-causing pathogens such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus and norovirus, were distributed state-wide, officials said.

The illness could potentially affect residents in other counties across California, as the raw oysters, which were later determined to be infected with various sickness-causing pathogens such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus and norovirus, were distributed state-wide, officials said. (iStock)

“CDPH continues to work closely with local health jurisdictions to collect information about the cases. Traceback evidence collected to date confirms that the oysters were harvested from Estero El Cardon. Shellfish authorities in Mexico have been notified about the outbreak and are investigating,” the state agency said in the news release, urging restaurants and retailers to check their “inventory and shellfish tags” to see if they are in possession of any of the affected oysters.

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“This will ensure that potentially contaminated raw oysters are not available for purchase, and any leftover contaminated products are discarded,” CDPH continued, adding “Consumers should ask the retailer or restaurant about the source if the product is not labeled or identified.”

Shellfish should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid illness, the CDPH advised.

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