Louisiana Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Raw Oysters from Texas
Oysters are one of those delicacies from the sea that most people have a love/hate relationship with. In other words, if you like oysters, you really like them. And if oysters aren't your thing you'll stop at nothing to avoid eating them. I can understand that. I am an oyster eater as many of us in Louisiana are which is why a health scare involving oysters is something that gets my attention every time.
The latest health issue involving oysters is a norovirus outbreak that officials with the Centers for Disease Control have connected to certain harvest locations off the Texas coast. The contaminated oysters have been sold to retailers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and several other coastal states.
One of the biggest issues in dealing with oysters that might contain the norovirus is that it's hard to detect which ones are "bad". Food contaminated with norovirus may look and smell the same as uninfected oysters. So, you need to be prepared to treat each batch of oysters you receive as if they might be contaminated.
As of now, the only harvest area that was noted was an oyster bed in TX Area 1, Galveston Bay Texas. This bed was identified in late December last year and authorities have been monitoring oysters that have been harvested from the area for the past several months. The bed has since been cleared for harvest and once again producers are allowed to fish in that area of the sea.
There have also been norovirus warnings issued for oysters harvested in some parts of Canada as well. Those warnings were issued at the beginning of 2023. There have also been warnings posted around the globe from Ireland to Hong Kong about the dangers of contaminated oysters.
Meanwhile, we can say as of today, the Louisiana Department of Health has issued a statement saying Louisiana Oysters are safe to eat. However, those with compromised immune systems or health issues should make sure the oysters are fully cooked before consuming them. LDH regularly tests oysters, the surrounding waters, and other factors for potential contamination so if you choose to eat oysters from Louisiana, your choices have been certified to be safe. Just make sure you do your due diligence.
10 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Louisiana Figs