Why are Galveston Bay oysters being recalled? Texas Department of State Health Services issues alert amid rising gastrointestinal illness cases

over a dozen people fall sick after eating Galveston Bay oysters (Image via Lisovskaya/GettyImages)
over a dozen people fall sick after eating Galveston Bay oysters (Image via Lisovskaya/GettyImages)

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a state-wide recall notice for Galveston Bay oysters over rising gastrointestinal illness cases.

TexasDSHS initiated the recall after the Louisiana Department of Health reported 19 cases of gastrointestinal illness following the consumption of raw oysters. Upon further investigation, the Health Department found that 10 out of the 19 reported cases were caused by the consumption of Galveston Bay oysters. Investigations into the rest of the cases are currently ongoing.

Speaking about the oysters from the TX1 area, Chris Van Deusen, TexasDSHS spokesperson, said:

"Last couple of days, we’ve gotten reports of a few dozen gastrointestinal illnesses in people who ate oysters from that area."

The recalled oysters were sold between November 17 and December 7, and could be packed in different kinds of packaging depending on the point of purchase. Customers are advised to check the packages to see if the oysters were harvested in TX 1 or Galveston Bay area. All TX1 and Galveston Bay oysters must be disposed off immediately, as they can cause gastrointestinal and norovirus illness.

What are the health risks related to the recalled Galveston Bay oysters?

Oysters are served raw in most seafood restaurants around the world. The vitamin and mineral-rich seafood greatly helps in keeping your brain healthy. But like any uncooked or unprocessed meat, oysters also carry certain germs and bacteria that can be harmful to human health.

Consumption of Galveston Bay oysters can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses and infections like norovirus. One of the most common viral infections caused by consuming raw oysters, norovirus symptoms usually subside within a few days, but can prove life-threatening to people with low immunity like children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with other medical complications.

The most common raw oyster-induced infection symptoms include vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. If you, or someone in your family, has been experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, contact your nearest health care center and inform them about your exposure to raw oysters.

Though none of the reported cases thus far required hospitalization, people who feel that normal medications are not helping much are recommended to visit the nearest health care center for immediate medical assistance.

Raw oyster-induced infections like Vibrio infection and Hepatitis A are common in the country and can often pose life-threatening risks for patients. Reports published by the CDC estimate that about 80,000 people get Vibrio infection after eating raw oysters every year, and around 100 people die from it.

Eating raw and unprocessed meat is never a good idea, as it can be full of pathogens and germs that can lead to hospitalization. Therefore, the U.S. Food and Health Safety Department always urges people to eat fully-cooked meat and seafood.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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