The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public about imported raw oysters linked to the shigella illness and distributed primarily to four states, including Nevada.
Five cases, including one in Nevada, have been reported of people coming down with the illness after eating the shellfish between Feb. 12 and April 9, an FDA release said Tuesday. The contaminated oysters harvested from Estero El Cardon, Baja California Sur, Mexico, were distributed primarily to California, Nevada, New York and Arizona, the release said.
Illnesses have also been reported in California and New Hampshire with the last onset illness reported on April 17; the New Hampshire case involved someone eating at a restaurant in California before falling ill.
One person has been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.
The oysters were sold to wholesale distributors who sold them to restaurants and not grocery stores, the release said. The FDA cautioned establishments not to serve oysters from Estero El Cardon and for people not to buy oysters marked as from the area.
According to the FDA, shigella is a bacterium that spreads from contaminated fecal matter and often spreads through water contaminated by an infected person. Infected people can also contaminate food by not washing their hands after going to the bathroom.
Symptoms can include watery stool containing blood, pus or mucus, vomiting, cramping and fever, and they typically develop within eight hours or up to roughly two days.
The illness is often mild and can go away on its own, but it’s capable of becoming “very serious in some cases,” the FDA said.
Contact a health professional if you show symptoms, the FDA said.