ALERT: Infections associated with raw blue crab from Seafood City in Tukwila


Since Feb. 7, Public Health — Seattle & King County has learned of two people from one household who got sick after eating raw blue crab from Seafood City in Tukwila on Jan. 18-19, 2019.

One of the sick people has laboratory-confirmed Grimontia hollisae, which is part of the same family as Vibrio bacteria and causes a similar illness to vibriosis.

One of the ill people was hospitalized, and both have since recovered.

The exact food or drink that caused the illness was not identified, though this is not uncommon for outbreaks associated with a bacterial toxin.

Seafood City is located at 1368 Southcenter Blvd. #100, Tukwila, WA 98188.

Here’s more from Public Health:

Seattle/King County Public Health investigated a household cluster of Grimontia hollisae associated with eating raw blue crab purchased live from Seafood City on January 18, 2019.

Symptoms included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Illnesses
Since February 7, Public Health has learned of 2 people from one household who got sick after eating raw blue crab on January 18-19, 2019. One of the sick people has laboratory-confirmed Grimontia hollisae, which is part of the same family as Vibrio bacteria and causes a similar illness to vibriosis. One of the ill people was hospitalized, and both have since recovered.

Public Health actions
Environmental Health investigators visited Seafood City on February 12, 2019. Investigators did not identify any factors that contribute to the spread of Grimontia bacteria, such as incorrect refrigeration temperatures or evidence of cross-contamination. We worked with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Shellfish Program and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to investigate the source of the blue crab.

Laboratory testing
One of the people who got sick tested positive for Grimontia hollisae. We do not have laboratory confirmation for the second person who got sick, but symptoms are consistent with Grimontia hollisae infection.

About Grimontia hollisae and vibriosis

  • Grimontia hollisae is a species of bacteria within the same family and closely related to Vibrio. It was formerly known as Vibrio hollisae and resembles Vibrio parahaemolyticus in terms of where it lives and how it causes illness.
  • Grimontia and Vibrio sp. are naturally occurring in marine waters. Eating undercooked or raw shellfish and other seafood (e.g. crab) is the main risk factor for getting this illness. Growth of Vibrio and Grimontia species increase in marine waters during the warmer months which usually causes an increase of these bacteriain shellfish during the summer.

Prevention

General advice for reducing risk of contracting Grimontia or Vibrio:

  1. Because raw seafood can be contaminated with Grimontia/Vibrio or other organisms, always cook crab, shellfish and other seafood to at least 145° for 15 seconds before eating. Crab should be cooked until the flesh is pearly and opaque.
  2. Wash cutting boards and counters used for shellfish/seafood preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.
  3. Wash hands thoroughly with soap after handling raw shellfish/seafood.
  4. Stay out of brackish or salt water if you have any wounds (including scrapes and cuts), or cover your wound with waterproof bandage to prevent a skin infection.
  5. Wash wounds and cuts with soap and water if they have been exposed to seawater or raw seafood and raw seafood juices, to prevent a skin infection.

More information about Vibrio:


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