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HEALTH Issues Warning About Eating Raw Shellfish

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) has received a report of a laboratory-confirmed case of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection in a male in his 70s who ate raw clams earlier this month. HEALTH is not certain where the clams were harvested. The man was treated and is recovering.

HEALTH recommends the following to all Rhode Islanders: · Do not eat raw oysters, clams, mussels, or shellfish. · Cook all shellfish thoroughly. For shellfish in a hard shell (clams, oysters, mussels), boil for five minutes after the shells open or steam for 9 minutes after the shells open. Do not eat clams, oysters, or mussels that do not open during cooking. Boil shucked oysters for at least 3 minutes or fry in oil that is 375 degrees for 3 minutes. · Eat shellfish promptly after cooking and refrigerate leftovers. · Clean surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils after they have come in contact with raw shellfish or shellfish juices. · Harvest shellfish from approved areas only and refrigerate shellfish immediately.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. The illness is usually mild or moderate, although some cases may require hospitalization. Symptoms usually last two or three days. Children, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system can develop more serious symptoms. Anyone who has eaten raw or improperly cooked shellfish and has these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

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