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Tainted Texas Oysters Claim 58 More Victims

<i> Associated Press</i>

State officials say another 58 people have been identified as victims of bacteria-tainted oysters from Galveston Bay.

Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Health, said the cases confirmed Thursday bring the total since June 1 to 248, including 206 in Texas, 36 in Florida and six in California.

The number surpasses an outbreak last year involving 208 people in the Pacific Northwest who were sickened by bacteria-tainted oysters. One died.

The Oklahoma Department of Health also said Thursday that four people there are suspected of developing a bacterial infection after eating contaminated raw oysters harvested from Galveston Bay.

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In California, the state Department of Health Services has confirmed six cases of the illnesses from Galveston Bay oysters.

Fishermen have agreed to stop harvesting from the bay and recall in-the-shell oysters taken from seven of the bay’s 43 commercial lease sites. Oysters harvested and shipped for cooking are not included in the recall.

Health authorities blame the problem on a bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which is killed by thorough cooking. Symptoms range from diarrhea to nausea and fever.


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