At Least 5 Have Been Sickened By Bacteria Originating In Shellfish Beds

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The State of Connecticut on Monday announced a voluntary recall of oysters and clams harvested in Norwalk and Westport, after at least five people got sick.

Warm water in the Long Island Sound was blamed for the growth of the naturally-occurring bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which was found in mollusks taken from 22 shellfish beds in the two cities between July 3 and this past Friday, according to a Stamford Advocate report.

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Oysters, mussels, hard clams, littleneck clams, chowder clams, quahogs, and soft-shell steamers are part of the recall, CBS Connecticut reported.

The state has recalled shellfish before due to pollution from storm water runoff or similar reasons. But the Department of Agriculture says a recall announced Monday due to naturally occurring bacteria is a first.

People infected by the bacterium can begin suffering from diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches, a fever, and chills between 12 and 24 hours after infection, the newspaper reported.

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The infection can be life-threatening for people with compromised immune systems or chronic liver disease, the newspaper reported. People can also be at greater risk if they take antacids or heart or diabetes medicine, or if they have recently taken antibiotics or cancer treatments, the paper reported.

David Carey, director of the agency’s Bureau of Aquaculture, said the extreme heat in mid-July is partly to blame for the warm water in shallow areas of the Sound. The state has shut shellfish harvesting areas until September when the water is expected to cool down.

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