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Norovirus outbreak in UK and Hong Kong linked to oysters

Persons are sick in the UK and Hong Kong after consuming oysters contaminated with norovirus.

Experiences recommend no less than 100 individuals are ailing within the UK with 12 circumstances in Hong Kong from uncooked oysters produced by Whitstable Oyster Firm within the UK.

Specialists from Public Well being England (PHE), the Meals Requirements Company (FSA) and environmental well being groups in Thanet and Canterbury in England are investigating studies of individuals falling ailing with vomiting and diarrhea after consuming oysters in late Might and early June.

“We’re supporting PHE and the native authorities’ investigations into an outbreak of suspected norovirus and we’re reiterating our recommendation to shoppers that they need to pay attention to the dangers of consuming uncooked oysters. Aged folks, pregnant ladies, very younger youngsters and individuals who have a weakened immune system ought to keep away from consuming uncooked or flippantly cooked shellfish to cut back their danger of getting meals poisoning,” mentioned an FSA assertion.

The oyster mattress and affected batches have been recognized, equipped companies have been knowledgeable and testing is ongoing.

Whitstable Oyster Firm has ceased harvesting, no additional oysters have been distributed since diseases occurred, and people distributed earlier than the agency was conscious of the outbreak have been withdrawn from the market. All oysters despatched on the market at the moment are previous their shelf life so there isn’t a identified additional danger to shoppers.

Threat elements for shellfish-related norovirus embody chilly climate resulting in low water temperatures, excessive prevalence of norovirus in the neighborhood, and excessive rainfall doubtlessly resulting in sewage system overflows.

Scenario in Hong Kong

The Centre for Meals Security (CFS) of the Meals and Environmental Hygiene Division in Hong Kong advised merchants to droop the import of uncooked oysters produced by the corporate and eating places to cease promoting the merchandise involved.

A spokesman mentioned whatever the season or area during which oysters are harvested, consuming them, notably uncooked or partially cooked, carries a meals security danger.

“The CFS was notified by the Centre for Well being Safety of the Division of Well being of a number of meals poisoning circumstances which concerned consumption of uncooked oysters at one restaurant in Sha Tin and one restaurant in Causeway Bay,” he mentioned.

“The CFS performed investigations on the eating places involved and located that each eating places had bought uncooked oysters from the Whitstable Oyster Firm within the UK equipped by the identical native provider. As properly, the CFS acquired a notification from the Meals Requirements Company that uncooked oysters equipped by Whitstable Oyster Firm have been suspected to be contaminated with norovirus.”

Two males and one feminine, aged 28 to 30, developed belly ache, diarrhea, fever and vomiting about 18 to 26 hours after having dinner at a restaurant in Sha Tin on June 26. One other two males and one feminine, aged 30 to 40, additionally fell ailing about 32 to 34 hours after having lunch at this restaurant on the identical day. 5 folks sought medical recommendation and one required hospitalization however has since been discharged.

Two males and one feminine, aged 20 to 22, developed signs about 22 to 32 hours after having dinner at a restaurant in Causeway Bay on June 28. One other three females, aged 24 to 25, had comparable signs about 34 to 43 hours after consuming on the similar restaurant on June 26. 5 of them sought medical recommendation and none required hospitalization.

Norovirus can contaminate meals and water and can even unfold via contact with the feces or vomit of an contaminated particular person. Though signs could be disagreeable, it’s thought of a gentle an infection as a result of it’s normally short-lived and most of the people get higher with out medical remedy.

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