Audience

Consumers who recently experienced symptoms of foodborne illness after eating raw oysters
Restaurants that sell raw oysters in California, Nevada, New York, and Arizona

Product

Oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Oysters were distributed primarily to California, Nevada, New York, and Arizona
Oysters were sold to wholesale distributors with direct sales to restaurants and not to grocery retail outlets.

Purpose

Consumers should not purchase oysters marketed as being harvested from Estero El Cardon, in Baja California Sur, Mexico from restaurants. Consumers who have recently experienced symptoms of foodborne illness should contact their healthcare provider and report their symptoms and receive care.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve oysters from the Estero El Cardon harvest area in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Restaurants and retailers should dispose of any products with harvest tags that indicate a growing area of Estero El Cardon by throwing them away.

Symptoms of Shigella Illness (Shigellosis)

Shigella is a bacterium that spreads from contaminated feces. It often spreads through unclean water that an infected person has been in. Food can become contaminated when handled by an infected person who did not use proper hand hygiene after going to the bathroom, or if contaminated water is used in the process of growing or preparing the food.

Symptoms of shigellosis generally develop within 8 hours or up to about 2 days. Although shigellosis is often mild and goes away by itself in a week or less, it can become very serious in some cases. Severe cases can be treated with certain antibiotics. Symptoms of shigellosis may include watery stool that may have blood, pus, or mucus in it, vomiting, cramping, and fever. Young children, the elderly, and people with a weak immune system are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

If you suspect you have symptoms of shigellosis, contact a health professional.

Summary of Problem and Scope

The FDA is investigating a subset of a larger outbreak investigation being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between the harvesting dates of February 12, 2019 and April 9, 2019, five ill patients reported eating raw oysters shortly before becoming ill with Shigella flexneri. One of the five patients was hospitalized; there have been no deaths. The last illness onset was April 17, 2019. Laboratory analyses were used to confirm that reported clinical illnesses matched pathogens found in product samples and traceback information indicated the implicated shellfish were harvested from Estero El Cardon, in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

The FDA confirmed that oysters harvested in Estero El Cardon, Baja California Sur, Mexico, were distributed to California, Nevada, New York, and Arizona with illnesses reported in California, Nevada and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire case reported eating at a restaurant in California shortly before becoming ill. It is possible that additional states received these potentially contaminated oysters either directly from Mexico or through further distribution within the U.S.

On May 7, 2019, the Mexican Shellfish Sanitation Program authorities voluntarily closed the growing area of Estero El Cardon and halted oyster harvesting in response to the reported illnesses. The shelf-life of fresh, raw oysters is limited. All raw oysters from this growing area are no longer expected to be available to consumers.

Shigella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Shigella outbreaks. The Shigella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Shigella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Shigella lawyers have litigated Shigella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as tomatoes, airplane and restaurant food.

If you or a family member became ill with a Shigella infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Shigella attorneys for a free case evaluation.