FDA reports nine cases of cholera

The United States Food and Drug Administration has reported that nine people have become ill from cholera after consuming raw or lightly steamed oysters harvested from Area 1642 of Apalachicola Bay, Fla.

The FDA is advising restaurant operators, consumers, commercial shippers and processors of shellfish not to serve, eat, sell, purchase, or ship oysters from the area due to contamination with Vibrio cholerae serogroup O75. This advisory includes shucked fresh or frozen and live-in shell oysters, according to Occupational Health and Safety.

The illness has been confirmed in eight people and laboratory confirmation is pending in the other person. None of the people who became ill were hospitalized or died.

Tracing has found that oysters harvested from Area 1642 in Apalachicola Bay, Fla., between March 21 and April 6 are associated with illness, Occupational Health and Safety reports. Symptoms tend to begin from a few hours to up to five days after the consumption of undercooked or raw seafood, particular shellfish, or after ingesting surface waters. Cholera is typically characterized by vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

People who traveled to Florida and consumed oysters that were harvested from the area or who purchased and ate oysters in a state where the oysters were distributed are at risk. Those who have recently purchased oysters should check the place of purchase and harvest.

The oysters and oyster product were initially distributed in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and North Carolina, though subsequent distribution to other states could have occurred.