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HIVers urged to
avoid oysters from Pacific Northwest

HIVers urged to
avoid oysters from Pacific Northwest

The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers--particularly those with compromised immune systems--to avoid eating raw oysters harvested in the Pacific Northwest as a result of increased reports of illnesses associated with the naturally occurring bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters harvested from the area. Oysters harvested from this region have been reported to cause gastrointestinal illness.

Until the threat of V. parahaemolyticus has passed, consumers are advised to thoroughly cook oysters harvested from that area before eating them. They also should thoroughly cook oysters if they are not certain of the oysters' origin or if they wish to further reduce their risk of infection from bacteria that may be found in raw oysters.

While V. parahaemolyticus can cause mild gastrointestinal disorders in healthy individuals, older persons and those with weak immune systems, such as HIV patients, are at greater risk for serious more illness, such as septicemia--infection of the blood system. Persons with weakened immune systems, including those affected by AIDS; and persons with chronic alcohol abuse, liver, stomach, or blood disorders; cancer; diabetes; or kidney disease should avoid raw oyster consumption altogether, regardless of where the oysters are harvested. (The Advocate)

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