Illnesses linked to Canada, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington and California.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is warning city residents not to serve or eat raw oysters that were linked to a norovirus outbreak that has impacted more than a dozen states, including Illinois.
According to the department, the oysters were harvested from a specific area of British Columbia in Canada. The Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory to restaurants and retailers not to sell the oysters, and said that they were shipped to at least 13 states, including Illinois.
The oysters were harvested from the BC 14-8 and 14-15 regions in Baynes Sound, according to the FDA alert. The FDA says that “Baynes Sound” will show on product tags as either 14-8, Deep Bay, or 14-15.
Residents or restaurants who purchased oysters from those regions are urged to either throw them away, or to send them back to the distributor for destruction.
The oysters could potentially contain a highly-contagious virus known as Norovirus. The virus can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain and fever, with symptoms starting just 12-to-48 hours after eating contaminated food.
Illnesses typically resolve within 1-to-3 days, but young children, older adults and immunocompromised patients are at higher risk of severe illness.
Residents are reminded to wash hands thoroughly while preparing oysters, and to cook them thoroughly before eating.