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The final update on a multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to fresh crab meat

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 27, 2018
Contact: Media Relations,
(404) 639-3286

The final update on a multistate outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to fresh crab meat imported from Venezuela can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/vibrio/investigations/vibriop-07-18/index.html.

Updates:

  • This outbreak investigation is over.
  • As of September 18, 2018, 26 Vibrio parahaemolyticus illnesses were reported from Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York City, Pennsylvania, Virginia. Nine people were hospitalized. No deaths were reported.
  • Illnesses in this outbreak started on dates ranging from April 1 to July 19, 2018.
  • FDA and regulatory officials in Maryland traced back the source of the crab meat from restaurants and grocery stores and identified multiple Venezuelan suppliers. The investigation did not identify a single firm as the only supplier of crab meat linked to the outbreak.
  • Vibrio illness typically begins 24 hours after swallowing the germ. Symptoms of infection include watery diarrhea, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.
  • Symptoms usually lasts about 3 days, and most people recover without treatment. People with Vibrio infection should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost through diarrhea.

Advice:

  • To prevent Vibrio infection, don’t eat raw or undercooked shellfish, such as oysters and crab.
  • When buying fresh crab meat – especially for use in cold dishes that do not need further cooking, such as crab salad – look for the word “pasteurized” on the label.
    • Fresh crab meat may be labeled as “fresh” or “precooked” and is a ready-to-eat product. It is often sold in refrigerated plastic containers.
    • Pasteurization is the process of heating a product to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill illness-causing germs.
  • When preparing a hot dish containing fresh crab meat, such as crab cakes, crab dip, and crab casserole, use a food thermometer to make sure the dish is cooked to the safe minimum temperature of 165°F.
    • Reheat leftovers to the safe minimum temperature of 165°F as measured by a food thermometer.
  • Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling or preparing dishes using fresh crab meat.

If you have questions about this outbreak, you can call the CDC media line at (404) 639-3286. If you have questions about illnesses in a particular state or the District of Columbia, you can call that jurisdiction’s health department.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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