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Authorities in the United Kingdom and Ireland are investigating a foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by norovirus in live oysters. The oysters are thought to have come from Ireland and been purified in the UK and it is believed they are no longer on the market. Harvesting records […]

Norovirus

Norovirus oyster outbreak

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis. This is more commonly known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis.

Noroviruses are also spread by consuming food and water that is contaminated. Noroviruses are highly contagious and anyone can get infected like flu. Norovirus infection in mild cases are usually the 24hr bug and can take 1 or 3 days to recover. Severe cases result in dehydration and need hospitalisation.

Infections occur most frequently in closed and crowded environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, child care centres, schools and cruise ships.

Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Muscle pain

Who are at risk?

Norovirus oyster outbreak

As mentioned Noroviruses are very contagious and anyone can get the stomach bug. However, those that are more severely affected include the high risk population:

  • Babies & small children
  • Pregnant moms
  • Elderly
  • Those that are immune-compromised

Where do the infections come from?

  • Contaminated or untreated water
  • Ready-to-eat foods touched by infected food workers (salads, sandwiches, ice, cookies, fruit)
  • Raw shellfish
  • Consuming foods that were handling by an infected person
  • Coming into close contact with an infected individual

Norovirus oyster outbreak

Norovirus oyster outbreak

Authorities in the UK are investigating a foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by norovirus in live oysters.

A number of people fell ill in England and the investigation has pointed towards a potential norovirus outbreak linked to one restaurant. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) told Food Safety News that it has sought detailed clarification on traceability and delivery channels.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised consumers not to change their choice of eating out as a result of the outbreak.“We are working with Public Health England to investigate why a number of people have reported digestive symptoms after eating out,” a spokeswoman told Food Safety News.

“This is being investigated as a potential norovirus outbreak linked to one restaurant. We’re working to determine the actual cause of the illnesses and which producer or supplier may be implicated.” Although symptoms can be unpleasant, it is considered a mild infection because it is usually short-lived and most people get better without medical treatment.

Outbreaks have been caused by infected oysters and fresh produce such as berries and salad. The oysters are thought to have come from Ireland and been purified in the UK and it is believed they are no longer on the market.