Contaminated Clevedon oysters make 73 sick

5:00AM Friday July 25, 2008


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Seventy-three people have fallen ill with norovirus, a vomiting and diarrhoea bug, after eating contaminated raw Pacific oysters from southeast Auckland.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said last night that oysters branded Clevedon Coast Oysters and harvested between June 30 and July 18 were being recalled.

If people had any of this product - from Pakihi Marine Farms Ltd, which had co-operated fully with the investigation - they should not eat it, said medical officer of health Dr Greg Simmons. He said the 73 reported cases were from 14 separate outbreaks, including social functions, where people had eaten the oysters.

Symptoms, which also include abdominal pains, fever and headache, usually begin between 10 and 50 hours after consuming the viral particles and typically last for 12 to 72 hours.

The source of the oysters' contamination was still being investigated, Dr Simmons said, but it was most likely to have been raw human sewage in the seawater before harvesting, possibly from sewerage pipes, a septic tank or a discharge from a passing boat.



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