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Westport, Norwalk Shellfish Beds Shut Down After Bacteria Detected

State Issued Voluntary Recall For Possibly Tainted Shellfish
Oysters (file/credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Oysters (file/credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – The Connecticut Agriculture Department has shut down some shellfish harvesting areas and issued a voluntary recall after several people were sickened.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, officials said it’s likely that more than just warm water caused high levels of bacteria in oysters and clams harvested from the waters of Long Island Sound off of Norwalk and Westport.

Five people were sickened by the shellfish, which were harvested in early July before the heat wave set in.

“The illnesses that we have closed and initiated the recall for basically occurred the last part of June and the first part of July,” David Carey of the Connecticut Bureau of Aquaculture told Schneidau. “So we haven’t even seen the effects of the extreme two weeks of 95-degree heat that we had. We’ll see those potential illnesses over the next two weeks.”

Carey said because the water temperatures are fairly even all the way from Greenwich to New Haven, he suspected some factor other than hot weather caused the problem in the isolated area off of Norwalk.

A lack of flushing of the waters near those shellfish beds is being investigated as a possible factor.

The areas where the seafood in question came from remain closed to harvest until further notice.

The recall does not include all shellfish commercially harvested from the waters of Norwalk and Westport, but rather only affects specific harvest locations.

Shellfish affected by this recall include hard clams and oysters harvested between July 3 and August 2, 2013. The following harvest locations are included in the recall:

  • CT 79 Westport
  • CT 123 Westport
  • CT 207 Westport
  • CT 173 Westport
  • CT 109 Norwalk
  • CT 20 Westport
  • CT 21 Norwalk
  • CT 109 Norwalk
  • CT 253 Norwalk
  • CT 268 Westport
  • CT 254 Westport
  • CT 599 Westport
  • CT 255 Norwalk
  • CT 270 Norwalk
  • CT 595C Westport
  • CT 595D Westport
  • CT 105 Westport
  • CT 207 Westport
  • CT 67 Westport
  • CT 171 Westport
  • CT 71 Westport
  • CT 73 Norwalk

All of the above location information may not be present on each shellfish tag, and the information may be in a different order. For example, CT 79 Westport may read “Westport Lot 79, CT” “L-79 Westport,” or simply “L-79″ with no town designation, according to state health officials.

Symptoms of V. parahaemolyticus infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. Symptoms usually appear 12-24 hours after eating contaminated shellfish, and can last two to seven days. Vibrio infections can be life-threatening for immune-compromised people or those with chronic liver disease.

Also at greater risk are people who regularly take antacids, heart, or diabetes medication, and those who have had antibiotic or cancer treatments recently. Consumers with questions about their individual risks related to shellfish consumption should contact their doctors, according to state officials.

Consumers who think they might have become ill from eating contaminated shellfish should notify their local health departments, as well as consult their healthcare providers for appropriate follow-up and treatment and to request a test be performed to detect Vibrio bacteria.

For more information, check www.ctgrown.gov | www.ct.gov/doag

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