Louisiana among states affected by outbreak of illness from Venezuelan crab

Louisiana among states affected by outbreak of illness from Venezuelan crab
Consumers urged not to eat crab unless you know where it comes from. (Source: CDC)
Consumers urged not to eat crab unless you know where it comes from. (Source: CDC)

(WVUE) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with federal, state and local officials regarding a Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak linked to fresh crab meat from Venezuela. Louisiana is one of three states where the outbreak has been reported.

The FDA is advising consumers to avoid eating fresh crab meat from Venezuela, as it may be contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Consumers are urged to ask where their crab meat is from if dining out at a restaurant or in grocery stores. The product is commonly found in plastic tubs and may be labeled as "pre-cooked."

Retailers should not serve or sell fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela.

As of July 12, 2018, there are 12 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The states reporting cases associated with this outbreak include  Maryland (8), Louisiana (2), Pennsylvania (1), and the District of Columbia (1). Four of these cases are confirmed matches to the outbreak strain by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), which is a type of DNA fingerprinting. All four of these confirmed cases are in Maryland. Four people have been hospitalized. Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 1, 2018 to July 3, 2018.

Food contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus may look, smell, and taste normal.

What are the Symptoms of Vibrio parahaemolyticus?

Most people infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus develop diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, fever and stomach pain. Diarrhea tends to be watery and occasionally bloody.

How Soon After Exposure do Symptoms Appear?

Most people infected with Vibrio parahaemolyticus develop symptoms after approximately 24 hours, but timing can vary.

Who is at Risk?

Anyone who consumes raw or undercooked shellfish is at risk of contracting Vibrio parahaemolyticus; however, the product under current investigation is a fresh, pre-cooked product that may be served chilled or lightly re-heated in various dishes. Children younger than five, the elderly and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.

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