Washington state has initiated a recall of live oysters harvested from the Samish Bay growing area in the Puget Sound area. The recall is in response to multiple cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses associated with oysters harvested in the area.
The outbreak has already surpassed the highest number of cases ever recorded by the state for the month of July, according to the state’s Health Department. Distribution details are incomplete but it is known that some of the oysters have gone to Asian and Canadian buyers as well as customers in the United States.
A recent heat wave, coupled with very low tides at mid-day, are likely to blame for the increased rate of illness, which is associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters that are contaminated with Vibrio.
The extremely low tides are part of an 18.6-year tide cycle, which means there will be more to come for a period of time during the cycle.