Cholera oyster outbreak sickens 11 in US

May 10, 2011

As many as 11 people have reported getting sick from eating raw oysters contaminated with cholera bacteria in northern Florida, officials said on Tuesday.

The oysters came from Apalachicola Bay, near Panama City in northern Florida, about 300 miles (482 kilometers) from New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico coast, and the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning not to eat them.

State officials said 11 cases of illness were reported, while the FDA said eight of those have so far been confirmed as "caused by toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O75... No one was hospitalized or died."

The high number of cases is unusual, given that the Centers for Disease Control typically logs one to two cases per year, an FDA spokesman told AFP.

"From 2000-2010, a total of 17 persons with toxigenic V. cholerae O75 infection were reported to CDC, the numbers are greatest when the water is warm," spokesman Douglas Karas said in an email.

The FDA said the affected oysters were harvested from Area 1642 in Apalachicola Bay between March 21 and April 6.

The Florida Department of Agriculture said it closed the area to oyster harvesting on April 29 and was investigating the cause of the outbreak.

"To date, we have learned of two events that may be the cause of the cholera related illnesses. First, there was a dredging operation near the 1642 harvesting area that may have stirred up organisms on the floor of the ocean," it said.

"We have also learned there was a sewer break in East Point and we are investigating whether it had any impact on oysters in 1642."

Oyster samples collected this week in the area were sent to the FDA for analysis and cholera was not found, so the harvesting area will re-open on Wednesday, the agriculture department said.

Area 1642 is home to about 10 percent of the state's oyster harvest, and oysters taken from there are mainly consumed in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

The cholera strain is different from the one that has killed more than 4,850 people in Haiti -- identified as toxigenic Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers find infectious prions throughout eyes of patients with deadly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2018
By the time symptoms of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) are typically discovered, death is looming and inevitable. But, in a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues ...

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ECOnservative
not rated yet May 11, 2011
Sad. These are some of the tastiest oysters in the world.
Refuge2012
not rated yet May 14, 2011
Yes their sea food was some of the best in the world, the operative word is "WAS".
I have regrettably forsaken all sea food.

Peace
Sheila
placeofrefuge2012DOT COM

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.