Consumers across the U.S. are warned to avoid raw or partially cooked oysters or clams coming from Oyster Bay Harbor in Nassau County, New York. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a detailed warning on July 20, 2012 after receiving reports from several states of people who had fallen ill after eating contaminated shellfish from the Oyster Bay Harbor area. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed Oyster Bay Harbor on July 13 to shellfish harvesting in response to these reports.
The New York State DEC estimates that shellfish from this area were distributed in several states, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York. The affected shellfish would be marked with the date of July 1 or later; any retail stores, restaurants, shippers, processers and shellfish harvesters with clams or oysters marked with that date from the Oyster Bay Harbor are advised to immediately dispose of these.
The illness associated with the affected shellfish is Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is characterized by such symptoms as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. One may experience these symptoms anywhere from a few hours to five days after eating food affected by the bacteria.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium in the same family as the bacteria that cause cholera. It is found in saltwater, naturally inhabiting coastal waters in the U.S. and Canada.
If you ate shellfish from the area and did not fall ill, there is no need to take action. If you begin to feel ill within a few hours to several days after eating raw or undercooked shellfish, be sure to seek medical attention. Tell your doctor what you ate so he or she can make an accurate diagnosis.
You can view a map of exactly the area that has been closed by the DEC by clicking here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html