Government issues Gulf Seafood Warning: US Cholera outbreak
By Deborah Dupre
Eight people have been confirmed ill with cholera after eating Gulf seafood contaminated with cholera bacteria according to officials Tuesday and the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to not eat Gulf raw oysters.
At least eleven people have become ill after eating Gulf oysters from less than 300 miles from New Orleans.
The outbreak is linked to oyster from Apalachicola Bay, near Panama City, Florida according to News 24 Tuesday.
Eleven cholera cases have been reported, eight of which tests confirm positive for toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O75.
While there have been no hospitalizations or deaths reported according to officials, the outbreak is notable.
One cholera case in the US is logged per year by the Centers for Disease Control according to an FDA spokesperson.
“From 2000 – 2010, a total of 17 persons with toxigenic V. cholerae O75 infection were reported to CDC, the numbers are greatest when the water is warm,” spokesperson Douglas Karas said in an e-mail.
“THE toxin that makes cholera lethal belongs not to the cholera bacterium itself, but to a threadlike virus which hijacks it to hitch a ride into cells. This discovery, by researchers in the US, helps to explain how bacteria can suddenly turn nasty and cause ‘new diseases’ with the help of genetic material from a virus.“
Cholera transmission is typically through contaminated drinking water or food.
Some Gulf Coast residents and some US residents elsewhere as distant from the Gulf as Hawaii have questioned Gulf seafood safety, some only after adverse reactions to it, while others have said they are just using common sense to protect their families by not eating Gulf seafood since the historic BP oil catastrophe followed by an unprecedented amount of Nalco’s corexit dispersed into the Gulf.