The oyster production areas of Coffin Bay have been closed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) as a precautionary measure as part of an ongoing investigation into a recent rise in Vibrio parahaemolyticus cases.
The closure came into effect yesterday – Tuesday, 16 November 2021.
PIRSA Executive Director of Biosecurity, Nathan Rhodes said the formal closure of the Coffin Bay Growing Area means no oysters can leave the area.
It is expected that the closure will be in place until early next week.
“This precautionary closure has been put in place to provide us with the opportunity to trace back recent cases and enable further investigations,” he said.
“PIRSA has consulted with industry, who have supported the closure, and has been working with SA Health on the public health impacts of the outbreak.
“Many growers had already voluntarily closed their harvesting operations.”
SA Health issued an alert about eating raw oysters on Friday (12 November) after a rise in case numbers linked to Vibrio parahaemolyticus.
Since September 2021 there have been 45 cases linked to eating raw oysters, compared to zero cases in 2020 and eight in 2019.
Mr Rhodes said PIRSA were working with industry on ensuring best practice quality controls are in place for the remainder of the South Australian oyster sector to ensure the continual safe supply to market.
“PIRSA continues to work with the South Australian Oyster industry as we investigate the likely cause of this current outbreak,” he said.
Food borne Vibrio parahaemolyticius infection can be acquired by eating undercooked shellfish and fish. It can cause symptoms of gastro, including watery diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache. Symptoms usually occur within 24 hours of eating the contaminated food.
To minimise the risk of contracting the illness consumers are reminded that raw unshucked Pacific Oysters should be stored at less than 10°C and shucked Pacific Oysters at less than 5°C.