26 September 2023

Food poisoning sees SA oysters off the menu

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ACT Health has issued a warning against the consumption of raw oysters from Coffin Bay in South Australia (SA) following a spike in cases of food poisoning.

In a statement, ACT Health said it, along with other State and Territory Health Agencies, was investigating gastroenteritis cases linked to the consumption of the oysters.

“At this stage, two cases of gastroenteritis caused by the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been identified in the ACT in people who had recently consumed oysters,” ACT Health said.

“Investigations are continuing to find out where these oysters were sourced from,” it said.

The Directorate said SA Health had closed affected oyster production areas and issued an emergency recall order for raw Pacific oysters produced in Coffin Bay, including fresh and frozen products with production dates from 4 September to 16 November.

ACT Health advised Canberrans to avoid eating raw or partially cooked oysters from Coffin Bay, including frozen oysters; to dispose of any Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay produced within the impacted dates; and seek medical advice if they had recently eaten oysters and felt unwell.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium found in marine and coastal waters, particularly in warm tidal areas, where oysters normally grow,” it said.

“The infection can be acquired by eating undercooked shellfish and fish, however, raw oysters are the most common cause.”

It said symptoms included watery diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches, and usually occurred within 24 hours of eating the contaminated oysters.

ACT Health said symptoms were usually mild to moderate and lasted around three days, but could be more severe, particularly in the elderly and in people who were immunosuppressed.

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