The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department recommends that consumers avoid raw oyster consumption. Recent illnesses associated with raw oyster consumption included 9 ill individuals who ate at a Hamilton County restaurant, the Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar, between March 5 and March 8, 2009. Following standard protocol, the Health Department conducted an investigation to determine the cause of the illness. Persons reporting illness have been contacted and interviewed. Laboratory testing of ill individuals identified Norovirus as the cause of the illness. The establishment fully cooperated with the Health Department’s procedures, including halting service of implicated oysters when notified of the illnesses. Inspection at the restaurant did not identify the facility as a source of the infection.


Bacterial and viral pathogens can be carried in oysters, including Vibrio, Hepatitis A and Norovirus. Even in healthy individuals, these pathogens cause illness. These illnesses can be severe, particularly in the elderly or in persons with weakened immune systems. In addition, most of these illnesses can then be spread to other individuals through person to person contact.


“Oysters should be cooked thoroughly,” says Margaret Zylstra, Epidemiology Manager at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. “Any oyster not thoroughly cooked poses the risk of foodborne illness.”

  • i hate oysters… i got an allergy on oysters.

  • I ate with my husband fresh oysters in the restaurant. He ate 6, I ate 2. For him-nothing,but I almost died.
    I am healthy woman,55,no liver,stomach,or any problem
    I want to know Why it’s happened to me?
    May be I have a weak immune system?
    What to do to build my immune system?

  • Sonar

    I ate 10 raw oysters 2 days ago and another 25 raw oystets yesterday and nothing happened.
    This only applies to people who are weak.
    Thanks and goodbye.

  • misa

    i am ridiculously healthy. in excellent physical shape and i maintain a healthy diet always. i NEVER take antibiotics, in fact no need to because i dont ever get sick enough to warrant them. on a rare occasion i may be under the weather with a common cold or from something i caught on an airplane, i stick to nonwestern treatments such as accupuncture and herbs and usually my symptoms will not last more than a day or two at best.
    point being… the ONE time I found myself in the hospital was when i was in London. Two days after having raw oysters i got violently ill and had to be rehydrated through an IV. my body rejected food for DAYS after that and with the traveling back to the states it was horrible. i swore i was never going to have a raw oyster again!
    so i dont know WHY i had oysters this friday night. the chef brough them to our table and was excited about his catch. i decided to go for it. i had 5 little oysters and sure enough… two days later i got sick (suffice to say my food did not stay down) and i havent been able to put anything in my system since yesterdays outbreak. i feel horrible and weak.
    but it IS true. Oysters contain so much bacteria no matter how strong your immune system is, its not a good idea to eat them raw either way. this time i learned my lesson and i will NEVER eat raw oysters again.

  • Carolyn

    I ate a few raw oysters last evening, and woke up so sick today. It was at a seafood buffet in Las Vegas. I filed a report with security. Awaiting their investigation now. I cannot even leave my bed, I am so sick.
    I always heard to never eat oysters in months that do not have an “R”. I am really stupid, because this is the month of June.

  • shf

    i ate 6 raw oysters at a chinese seafoood buffet and a little less than 2 days later starting feeling so so sick.i was so weak that i couldnt even walk i was in bed for 24 hours because i couldn’t even move my body felt paralyzed, i had muscle aches, backache, pain in my lower back near my liver, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulty almost felt i was going to pass out or die. during my time in bed i felt uncosciuous, overheating probably from my fever; maybe i was in a coma, it only takes one bad one to make you sick.

  • Julio

    Agreed! I Eat 1 Dozen per day! No problems here!!