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Consumer Media: 888-Info-FDA
July 1, 1998


The Food and Drug Administration is continuing to warn consumers not to eat raw oysters from Galveston Bay, Texas, which are under a nationwide recall because they may contain harmful levels of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a naturally occurring marine bacterium which can cause serious gastrointestinal illness. Since last week, 128 cases of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus illness associated with Galveston Bay oysters have been reported in California, Florida and Texas.

FDA advises consumers to cook oysters from Galveston Bay or any unknown location to reduce the risk of illness. Thorough cooking kills the organism and prevents infection.

Consumers can check the source of oysters they purchase from the tags that accompany shell stock or they can ask their retailer. If consumers are holding any raw oysters of unknown origin, they should not eat them unless thoroughly cooked.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus occurs naturally in marine coastal waters and usually can be found in raw oysters at levels that do not cause health problems. However, higher levels of the bacterium in oysters, often caused by warm, high saline waters, can cause illness. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever and vomiting. The illness is not usually life threatening, and can last from one to seven days. The illness can occur within one to two days after eating an infected product.

Last week the Texas Health Department alerted FDA of illnesses in people who had eaten oysters from Galveston Bay. The industry has stopped harvesting oysters from Galveston Bay, and has initiated a recall of all oysters intended for raw consumption from Galveston Bay since May 27.

FDA is working with Texas authorities to monitor the status of Galveston Bay for the purpose of determining when harvesting may resume.

As part of its investigation, the Texas Department of Health is asking anyone who has eaten raw oysters one-to-two days prior to experiencing the previously mentioned symptoms of illness to call 1-888-883-9997.


The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.