ACT Health, along with other states and territories, is investigating gastroenteritis cases linked to the consumption of raw oysters. Many of the cases nationally have been linked to Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay in South Australia.
At this stage two cases of gastroenteritis caused by the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been identified in the ACT in people who had recently consumed oysters. Investigations are continuing to find out where these oysters were sourced from.
SA Health has closed affected oyster production areas and issued an emergency recall order for raw Pacific oysters (Magallana gigas) produced in Coffin Bay, including fresh and frozen products with production dates from and including 4 September 2021 up to and including 16 November 2021.
The oysters have been available for sale in SA, NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, NT and WA.
ACT Health advises that Canberrans should avoid eating raw or partially cooked oysters from Coffin Bay, South Australia, including frozen oysters, and dispose of any Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay produced within the impacted dates and seek medical advice if you have recently eaten oysters and feel unwell.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium found in marine and coastal waters, particularly in warm tidal areas, where oysters normally grow. The infection can be acquired by eating undercooked shellfish and fish, however raw oysters are the most common cause.
Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, headache and muscle aches, and usually occur within 24 hours of eating the contaminated oysters. Most people recover with rest and fluids and symptoms are usually mild to moderate lasting around three days but can be more severe, particularly in the elderly and in people who are immunosuppressed.