On July 16th the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) advised food establishments to check the tags on any shellfish that they were selling to consumers or use in food preparation and to avoid using or selling any shellfish harvested from areas in the Town of Oyster Bay, N.Y. The harvesting of shellfish from that area temporarily prohibited on July 13th due to an illness outbreak caused by naturally occurring marine bacteria in shellfish, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A map showing the affected closure areas:
The action was taken by DEC and the New York State Department of Health after three people who ate raw or partially cooked shellfish in Nassau County became ill. An additional five illnesses were reported to DEC by three other states that received shellfish harvested in Oyster Bay.
Laboratory tests have determined that the illnesses were caused by the marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which occurs naturally and is generally associated with warm water conditions. When ingested, the bacteria may cause diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, as well as abdominal cramps, fever and chills. Those with compromised immune systems or underlying chronic diseases are at increased risk for illness.
On July 20th FDA warned consumers not to eat shellfish from Oyster Bay Harbor as well and noted that records and information obtained by the New York state DEC indicated that the shellfish from this area of Oyster Bay Harbor in New York were distributed in several states, including, but not necessarily limited to, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.