Washington Warns Not to Eat Raw Shellfish After ‘Heat Dome’


Washington State health officials have recently urged consumers not to eat locally harvested raw oysters and other shellfish, following an outbreak of intestinal disease caused by rapidly multiplying bacteria following a “heat dome” baked in the Pacific Northwest.

State health officials said the recent high temperatures and low tides are likely blame for the epidemic disease, vibriosis, the most recorded in July, sickening at least 52 people this month.

The illness, which usually lasts between four hours and four days and causes diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and chills, is associated with the ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters contaminated with the bacterium vibrio. occurs naturally in coastal waters.

In low numbers, the bacteria pose no threat to people who eat shellfish. But bacteria multiply rapidly in hot conditions, so oysters are more likely to become contaminated during the hot summer months, when many like to enjoy the salty delicacy with a cold glass of wine.

Late last month, a “dome of heat” enveloped the Pacific Northwest, shattering records throughout the region. Seattle break a record On June 28 for the highest temperature ever recorded by the National Weather Service: 108 degrees. The previous high of 105 degrees was set in July 2009.

“These super low tides and high temperature we’ve been experiencing this month was the perfect storm,” Teresa McCallion, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health, said in an interview Thursday.

“This is likely an anomaly, not just a one-time thing,” he added. “This is just one example, as climate change has an impact on many things.”

When connecting individually heat wave for climate change requires extensive attribution analysis, heat wave it is growing more often, lasting longer and becoming more dangerous around the world.

NS 2018 National Climate Assessment, an important scientific report Published by 13 federal agencies, he points out that the number of hot days has increased. And frequency of heat waves In the United States, it jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year in the 2010s. Also for the season heat wave According to the report, it will be 45 days longer than it was in the 1960s.

Washington State health officials recommended that people cook shellfish at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds to destroy vibrio bacteria. Shellfish Safety Map of the department He said they always chill the oysters on ice or in the refrigerator before they go to the beach to harvest shellfish for fun.

“We recommend not eating raw oysters if you don’t want to get sick,” Ms McCallion said. “Cook them. Make sure they’re fully cooked.”

Margaret Pilaro, executive director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, said it’s important to remember that vibrio is found naturally in coastal waters. He said it’s also important to buy shellfish from a “reputable source” and feed oysters cold.

“It’s something that happens every year, and there are many delicious ways to eat cooked shellfish,” said Ms Pilaro. “And when the temperatures drop, vibriosis isn’t much of an issue. Consumers can feel really good about the quality of the product they’re buying.”


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