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.


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.