San Diego/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 27, 2024
San Diego County Hit by Norovirus Outbreak Linked to South Korean OystersSource: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

A shellfish shakedown is sweeping through San Diego County after 33 people fell ill, contracting norovirus likely linked to frozen raw oysters imported from a company in South Korea, health officials said.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is sounding the alarm, telling distributors and retailers to halt sales and service of frozen raw oysters from JBR, Inc., located in Tongyeongsi, Republic of Korea; these shellfish are suspected culprits behind a string of gastroenteritis cases among eaters in late March and April. These specific oysters arrived bearing the label “Amazing Sea Brand.” They have been traced back to being harvested on several dates—November 26, 2023, January 4, and February 15—and San Diego County public health officials, alongside the CDPH's investigation, pointed to these as the likely source of the virus transmission, according to a statement obtained by the California Department of Public Health.

With the imminent threat of this highly contagious virus spreading, the CDPH advises restaurants and retailers to rigorously inspect their inventory and shellfish tags and promptly dispose of any products that could pose a public health hazard. Further details and images of the affected products are accessible courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

So far, the fallout has prompted international action. The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in Korea has advised JBR to voluntarily remove the questionable lots from shelves. Meanwhile, stateside, California distributors Great Wall Seafood LA LLC and S.J. Distributors LLC have also issued recalls on April 18 and 20, respectively, for these Korean-imported oysters linked to the norovirus outbreak.

Norovirus isn't a matter to take lightly; it springs into action 12 to 48 hours after exposure. It can floor you with nauseating symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, lasting for an uncomfortable slog of 1 to 3 days. The CDPH urges anyone who's downed raw oysters and is now feeling the pinch to seek medical assistance and report the illness to their local health department. Those dreading the thought of contracting this unwelcome guest can glean more info on norovirus and shellfish advisories from CDPH's dedicated lines and web pages.