KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The Benton-Franklin Health District wants to warn people about eating oysters this time of year. They say during the summer, the water warms up and certain organisms, like vibriosis come up to the water surface and often get sucked in by shell fish like clams, mussels and oysters.
Oysters are often eaten raw and that's when food poisoning can occur. Heather Hill of the Benton Franklin Health District says cooking and handling food properly is vital. "You can kill it with heat but the problem is people don't cook their food. You have to cook it hot, and then you have to be careful not to contaminate the dishes you put the oysters back on. It's just like if you cooked your chicken. You've killed the organism but if you put the chicken back on that plate that the raw chicken was on you've picked the organism up."
Hill says those who ingest vibrio usually get severe diarrhea which can last for several days, sometimes up to forty times per day.