BOSTON, MA (October 13, 2016) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), working in conjunction with local health and shellfish authorities, announced today that shellfish beds in the town of Wellfleet have been closed effective immediately due to a large outbreak of suspected norovirus illness believed to be linked to consumption of shellfish from that area.
Public health officials have received reports of approximately 75 suspect cases of norovirus over the past two days, primarily associated with eating raw shellfish at weddings and restaurants in the Outer Cape Cod area.
Officials from the DMF have notified the Town of Wellfleet and shellfish harvesters in the area about the closure. The DPH Food Protection Program is notifying businesses to recall any affected shellfish that was harvested on or after September 26, 2016.
Shellfish Growing Areas in Wellfleet Affected by Closure and Recall:
Noroviruses are easily spread through food, person-to-person contact, or through contact with contaminated surfaces such as countertops or door knobs. The viruses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Other symptoms may include headache, fever, chills and muscle aches.
For most people noroviruses cause a very unpleasant but brief illness that usually lasts 1 to 2 days. The elderly, very young and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of more serious illness from noroviruses. The greatest danger is from dehydration.
Advice for the Public:
For more information on noroviruses, residents can contact the DPH Division of Epidemiology at (617) 983-6800. For more information on the DMF shellfish harvesting closure notice, call (508) 990-2860.