Raw oysters sold in 8 states carry risk for norovirus, health officials say

Health officials are advising people in at least eight states to stop eating or selling raw oysters as more than 200 people have reported becoming ill with norovirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's investigating the outbreak of the virus linked to oysters that were harvested in Galveston Bay, Texas, from Nov. 17 through Dec. 7.

As of Dec. 15, 211 people have been reported sick.

The oysters were shipped from Texas to retailers and restaurants in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as throughout Texas. Grocer Publix confirmed contaminated oysters were sold at its locations.

Health officials said the oysters may have been shipped to other states as well.

Which oysters were recalled?

The Texas Department of State Health Services on Dec. 9 issued a recall of all oysters harvested in the area as people reported gastrointestinal illnesses after eating the oysters.

Health officials say consumers, restaurants and retailers should check the product tags of oysters to see if it was harvested from "TX 1" from Nov. 17 to Dec. 7.

If affected, they should be thrown away or returned them to distributors for destruction.

What is norovirus and its symptoms?

Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. with around 2,500 outbreaks occurring each year, according to the CDC. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, as well as fever, headache and body aches.

The Food and Drug Administration says contaminated oysters can cause the illness if eaten raw, and people with compromised immune systems, children and older people are at higher risk.

If consumers feel like they have symptoms of norovirus, they should contact their health care provider, who should report it to local health departments.

Oysters have been at the center of virus risks in recent months:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas recalls raw oysters sold in 8 states due to norovirus