Mass. officials warn of bacteria on oysters
BREWSTER, Mass. (AP) -- State health officials are warning shellfishermen and dealers around Cape Cod Bay to take precautions against a bacteria found on oysters that can make people severely ill.
The Cape Cod Times reports that last summer and fall, five people in the state were badly sickened, and one almost died, after eating raw oysters contaminated with bacteria, known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
The bacteria, which cause problems including diarrhea, vomiting and bloodstream infections, rapidly multiplies in water temperatures greater than 80 degrees. Massachusetts waters aren't that warm, but oysters in Cape Cod Bay can be harvested on tidal flats where they've been exposed to the sun for hours.
Federal officials say cooling the oysters within five hours of exposure can curb the bacteria's growth, so that the oysters are safe to consume.