It’s summertime, which means it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy some fresh seafood – especially if you live somewhere coastal.
However, if you’re in the Pacific Northwest you might want to proceed with a little caution. The record-breaking heatwave that has gripped the region might be affecting more than just the weather. As it turns out, the triple-digits might have affected shellfish and increased the number of shellfish-related illnesses.
As KING5 reported, there were at least 52 cases of vibriosis. The bacterial illness comes from consuming raw or undercooked shellfish, and it has been reported that 30 of those cases were connected to the consumption of oysters.
The Washington State Department released a statement admitting that their vibriosis outbreak had set a record for the highest number of cases within the state. They believe that the outbreak might be due to both the low tides combined with the very high temperatures.
They are cautioning people to be careful and know what signs to look out for. The symptoms of the Vibrio bacteria will usually appear within four hours of eating contaminated shellfish, and they can last up to 2-3 days. The most common symptoms of Vibriosis are symptoms like abdominal cramps, chills, diarrhea, fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting.
However, it should be noted that Vibriosis isn’t just a problem along the Pacific Northwest. Earlier in the year, New Zealand had a warning from food safety officials after there was a staggering 22 reported cases of Vibrio-related issues. In the Bahamas, an illness known as “conch poisoning” is a Vibrio-related illness that comes from eating raw conch.
As Todd Phillips, the director of the Washington Office of Environmental Health and Safety, shared, “Another effect of the recent heat wave is the perfect storm of conditions for Vibrio infections. It’s important that when enjoying shellfish, we follow simple steps to stay healthy.”
The department has already shared the steps one can take to be careful with seafood.
They have called these steps, “The Three C’s.” These steps include cooking shellfish at at least 145° F for 15 seconds to kill the Vibrio bacteria; checking with the Department of Health’s Shellfish Safety Map before collecting your own shellfish; and chilling your shellfish on ice as soon as possible.SKM: below-content placeholder