MMWR Weekly Report
January 29, 1999
Farzad Mostashari, M.D., M.S.P.H.
CDC, Epidemic Intelligence Service
(212) 788-4197 (New York)
Outbreak of Vibrio
Parahaemolyticus Infection Associated with Eating Raw Oysters and Clams Harvested from
Long Island SoundConnecticut, New Jersey, New York, 1998
To reduce the risk of
Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection, and other shellfish-associated infections, avoid eating
raw or undercooked shellfish, especially during warmer months.
In the summer of 1998, 23
mid-Atlantic residents were infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The outbreak
investigation determined that 22 of 23 ill persons had eaten or handled oysters, crabs, or
crustaceans. Traceback investigations by local and state health departments identified the
site of harvest for 11 of the 16 patients who had eaten either oysters or clams. Oysters
and clams eaten by 8 patients were harvested from Oyster Bay, off New York's Long Island
Sound, during August 4-August 27. To reduce the risk of V. parahaemolyticus
infection and other shellfish-associated infections, avoid eating raw or undercooked
shellfish. If consumers of oysters develop gastroenteritis within 4 days after ingestion,
they should consult a health-care provider and ask that their stool be cultured for Vibrio.
For persons with underlying medical illness, such as alcoholism; diabetes; or persons with
liver disease, iron overload states, compromised immune systems, or gastrointestinal
problems, Vibrio infection can cause serious illness.