Shellfish Bacteria Can Cause Flu-Like Sickness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The state Dept. of Public Health is warning Connecticut residents of a nasty bacteria found in raw and under-cooked shellfish.

    Exposure to the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and fever, and already, more than double the average number of infections have been reported.

    The bacteria can also lead to a skin infection when open wounds are exposed to contaminated seawater. Symptoms typically occur 24 hours after exposure and last up to seven days.

    Vibrio bacteria grow more quickly in warm weather, and infections are not uncommon during the summer months. This year, however, the number of reported cases is more than twice the average.

    According to the Dept. of Public Health, 19 cases have been reported since June; typically, seven cases would be reported in the same amount of time.

    People with pre-existing medical conditions such as liver disease and those who regularly take antacids are at a higher risk for infection, according to the Dept. of Public Health.

    To best protect against infection, the FDA recommends steaming oysters for 4 to 9 minutes, or boiling them for 3 to 5 minutes after they open. Shellfish should be cooked for at least 15 seconds at 145 degrees.

    The Dept. of Public Health says we can expect to see declining levels of bacteria around October, as the weather starts to change.

    Last week, recalls were issued for clams and oysters from Norwalk and Westport after people around the state started to get sick.

    For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.