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4 suspected cases of norovirus in Hawaiʻi linked to raw Canadian oysters

Apalachicola oysters, considered a delicacy on the half-shell, used to account for 90% of Florida's oyster harvest. But they're hard to find on the menu today.
Debbie Elliott

While federal officials investigate a multi-state outbreak of norovirus linked to raw oysters, Hawaiʻi health officials say there have been four local suspect cases of norovirus as of April 5.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the oysters were harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, and have been distributed to restaurants and businesses in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaiʻi, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington state.

"Retailers should not serve raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations within British Columbia, BC 14-8 and BC 14-15, with harvest starting as early as January 31, 2022, which will be printed on product tags," the FDA said.

In Hawaiʻi, three of the four suspect cases consumed raw oysters on Hawaiʻi Island. The fourth case occurred on Oʻahu. Consumption dates ranged from March 8 through March 22, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health said.

"Cases are considered suspect as no clinical testing was conducted, however, epidemiological investigations indicate that the customers consumed raw oysters harvested from the implicated harvest locations in British Columbia and experienced symptoms consistent with norovirus," the health department said.

All four individuals have recovered. One case required hospitalization, officials said.

Norovirus is a viral infection that causes gastrointestinal illness symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other symptoms can include fever, headache, and body aches.

Symptoms typically develop 12 to 24 hours after being exposed. Those who become ill generally get better within 24 to 72 hours. People with norovirus infection can spread the infection easily to others.

Anyone who has consumed raw oysters and experienced symptoms consistent with norovirus, please contact Hawaiʻi's Disease Investigation Branch through the Disease Reporting Line at 808-586-4586.

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