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Am J Epidemiol. 1982 Mar;115(3):348-51.

Norwalk virus gastroenteritis following raw oyster consumption.


In January, 1980, six out of 13 persons (46%) attending a party in a small northwest Florida town near the Gulf of Mexico became ill with Norwalk virus gastroenteritis after eating raw oysters. Symptoms experienced by the ill persons were principally nausea (100%), vomiting (83%) and diarrhea (50%) and were of brief duration. The symptom complex and epidemiology of Norwalk virus infection closely resemble the gastrointestinal illness commonly referred to as the 24-hour intestinal flu or "stomach flu." Norwalk virus infection was identified in this outbreak by application of a recently developed sensitive and specific serologic radioimmunoassay. Oysters from the incriminated batch had fecal coliform levels above recommended standards; however, recent studies of oyster-harvesting waters have shown only a weak correlation between fecal coliforms and the presence of enteric viruses. Further studies are needed to determine whether modifications of monitoring modalities for oyster-harvesting waters are needed.

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