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CDC: Raw oysters sold in FL restaurants, grocery stores linked to norovirus outbreak

Oyster Harvesting
Lacy Rose holds an oyster on his boat on the Rappahannock River near White Stone, Va., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(FLA) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a nationwide outbreak of norovirus linked to raw oysters sold in Florida.

An update released Thursday said approximately 211 cases of norovirus were reported across seven states including Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, according to the CDC.

CDC officials say the outbreak stems from raw oysters harvested between Nov. 17 to Dec. 7, 2022 in the TX 1 area in Galveston Bay, Texas.

The contaminated oysters harvested in Texas were potentially distributed with other food retailers across southern states.

Publix ordered a recall of oysters with a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) of 29697000000, harvested from Galveston Bay and distributed to Publix and Publix Greenwise Market locations on Dec. 9, after discovering a connection with dozens of norovirus illnesses in the surrounding area, according to Publix. The FDA confirmed the oysters were potentially contaminated with the virus.

According to the CDC, “Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, however, state, local, and territorial health departments are not required to report individual cases of norovirus illness to a national surveillance system. That’s why we may not know about many cases, especially if people do not go to a doctor’s office or hospital.”

CDC strongly advises consumers to discard purchased raw oysters harvested from Galveston Bay, or to cook oysters to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consumers should also wash and sanitize thoroughly when handling shellfish, and clean contaminated surfaces.