France – Collective food poisoning suspected to be linked to the consumption of oysters contaminated by Norovirus

Sante Publique

Several collective food poisoning infections possibly linked to the consumption of contaminated oysters have been reported since mid-February 2021 in several regions of France.

Since mid-February 2021, 46 mandatory declarations (DO) of collective food poisoning (TIAC) ​​suspected of being linked to the consumption of oysters have been sent to Public Health France and / or to the General Directorate of food . 

The meal dates at the origin of these toxi-infections are between 02/11/2021 and 02/25/2021 with a majority of meals reported on 02/14 (21 TIAC, 46%). All these TIACs took place in the context of a family meal with between 2 and 8 patients. A total of 164 patients were recorded and two people were hospitalized. 

Several departments affected, in particular the West region

These TIACs mainly took place in New Aquitaine (23 in the department 33, 7 in the 17, 4 in the 40 and 2 in the 64), 5 in Pays de la Loire, 3 in Occitanie, 1 in Brittany and 1 in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. For 36 of these TIACs, the origin of the oysters is known: Arcachon basin for 24 TIAC, Hossegor lake for 5, Marennes d’Oléron for 6 and Baie de Plouharnel for 1. 

The investigations carried out

Stool analyzes carried out by the National Reference Center for Gastroenteritis Viruses in patients following 2 TIACs confirmed the presence of norovirus.

Shellfish collected from individuals who were sick after consuming oysters as well as from suppliers were analyzed by reference laboratories and laboratories approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food: noroviruses were identified . Noroviruses have also been detected in several production areas of consumed oysters.

The contamination of shellfish by norovirus for other TIACs is also suspected in view of the symptoms of sick people, mainly diarrhea and vomiting, and the incubation times between the consumption of shellfish and the onset of symptoms found during investigations of patients. TIAC. The torrential rains observed at the beginning of February may have favored the contamination of the environment / production areas and therefore of shellfish.

Actions taken since case detection

Four areas are currently closed by prefectural decrees temporarily prohibiting fishing, collection, transport, purification, shipping, storage, distribution, marketing and release for human consumption. shellfish following the discovery of the contamination of shellfish by noroviruses: the Arcachon basin (Gironde) since 02/18/2021, Hossegor lake (Landes) since 03/02/2021, the Chenaux du Payré (Vendée) since 25/02 and the bay of Plouharnel (Morbihan) since 03/03/2021.

One response to “France – Collective food poisoning suspected to be linked to the consumption of oysters contaminated by Norovirus

  1. Pingback: 164 sick: Collective food poisoning in France linked to the consumption of oysters contaminated by norovirus | barfblog

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