Norovirus associated with consumption of raw oysters
Updated May 8, 2017
Since April 14th, Public Health has investigated an additional report of an ill person with norovirus-like symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating raw oysters at Daniel’s Broiler on 4/15/17. With this additional report, as many as 55 people may have become ill after consuming oysters.
At this point, we are seeing fewer reports of norovirus-like illness associated with raw oysters and will not update this posting unless we continue to get additional reports.
Updated April 14, 2017
Since April 5th, Public Health has investigated an additional 2 reports of ill persons with norovirus-like symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating raw oysters at Elliott’s Oyster House on 4/6/17 and at The White Swan Public House on 1/6/17. An EH inspection was not conducted for The White Swan because the report was received on 4/13/17, several months after the meal was consumed. With these additional reports, as many as 54 people may have become ill.
Laboratory testing through the DOH Shellfish Program, in partnership with the FDA Pacific Region Laboratory NW, has found Norovirus in some Shigoku oysters collected from a batch consumed by an ill person at Elliott’s Oyster House, meal date 4/1/17. Oysters consumed by ill persons at Elliott’s Oyster House on 3/26/17 and at Sitka and Spruce on 4/1/17 were also from the same Bay Center growing area. The DOH Shellfish Program has closed this section of Bay Center and initiated a recall of these oysters on 4/13/17.
- The DOH News Release is available online
- More details on beach closures are available on the DOH Shellfish Program online
- More details on oyster recall alerts are available on the DOH Shellfish Program online
Updated April 5, 2017
Since March 20th, Public Health has investigated an additional 6 reports of ill persons with Norovirus-like symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating raw oysters at various venues around King County. Public Health has also received 1 additional report of 1 ill person with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating raw oysters at Anchovies and Olives on 3/4/2017. With the additional reports, as many as 51 people may have become ill.
Posted March 28, 2017
Public Health has investigated multiple reports of ill persons with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea after eating raw oysters at one of several restaurants or private events in King County during the period January 10 - March 20, 2017 (see table below for meal locations and dates). We do not have laboratory confirmation for any of the cases, but symptoms are suggestive of norovirus. Often in norovirus outbreaks no laboratory testing is done. As many as 39 people may have become ill, though not all were interviewed directly by Public Health.
Public Health has reported the illnesses to Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Shellfish Program which is responsible for tracking the reports and harvest locations of the oysters implicated in these illnesses. The oysters served at each of the meals in the table below were harvested from different growing areas/bays in Washington State with the exception of four meals, accounting for 22 of the reported illnesses, which included oysters harvested from a small area in the Samish Bay growing area; a section of that growing area was closed on 3/17/17 for all species. For more information, see the DOH Shellfish Program website.
On site investigations were conducted by inspectors at each retail location where the oysters were purchased or consumed. No factors that can contribute to the spread of norovirus were found at any of the establishments, except for RN74 where a food worker was observed handling lettuce with their bare hands. Importantly, no ill food workers were found at any of the food establishments. Lacking any identified ill food workers, Public Health believes the most likely cause of the reported illnesses to be from consumption of raw oysters.
Learn more from our blog: Love oysters? Pay attention to this warning
(all locations are in Seattle unless otherwise noted)
|Meal date||Number ill|
|Daniel's Broiler - Lake Union||809 Fairview Pl N, Seattle||4/15/2017||1|
|Elliott's Oyster House||1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle||4/6/2017||2|
|Sitka and Spruce||1531 Melrose Ave E., #6, Seattle||4/1/2017||2|
|Elliott's Oyster House||1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle||4/1/2017||1|
|Elliott's Oyster House||1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Seattle||3/26/2017||2|
|Jack's Fish Spot||1514 Pike Place, Site 2, Seattle||3/24/2017||1|
|Salted Sea||4915 Rainier Ave S, Seattle||3/20/2017||1|
|Big Fish Grill||984 NE Park Drive, Issaquah||3/20/2017||4|
|The Walrus and the Carpenter||4743 Ballard Ave Northwest||3/20/2017||2|
|Chandlers Crab House||901 Fairview Avenue North||3/12/2017||2|
|RN74||1433 4th Avenue||3/10/2017||2|
|Private party: Taylor Shellfish (oysters from Taylor Shellfish)||Taylor Shellfish (Shelton, WA)||3/10/2017||15|
|Taylor Shellfish (restaurant)||1521 Melrose Avenue||3/10/2017||3|
|Anchovies and Olives||1550 15th Ave||3/4/2017||1|
|Orfeo||2107 3rd Avenue||2/28/2017||2|
|Herb and Bitter||516 Broadway East||2/25/2017||2|
|Anchovies and Olives||1550 15th Avenue||2/17/2017||2|
|Girin||501 Stadium Place South||2/17/2017||1|
|Art of the Table||1054 North 39th Street||2/14/2017||2|
|Bar Melusine||1060 East Union Street||1/20/2017||2|
|Taylor Shellfish*||124 Republican Street||1/10/2017||4|
|The White Swan Public House||1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle||1/6/2017||1|
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is frequently spread person-to-person and is often associated with food. Norovirus illness often has a sudden onset of nausea and vomiting and/or watery diarrhea with cramps. A low grade fever, chills, and body aches sometimes occur. Norovirus rarely causes severe complications. Dehydration is the most common complication, particularly among young children and the elderly. No vaccine is available for norovirus.
To prevent norovirus infection:
- While cooking shellfish can reduce the risk of norovirus illness, quick steaming or cooking until the shells just open may not be enough to protect against norovirus illness. Norovirus can survive cooking temperatures up to 140°F.
- Wash hands, cutting boards, and counters used for shellfish preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing any food or eating.
- Wait at least 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea before preparing any food for others.
For more information on norovirus, see: