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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1994 Oct;7(4):419-25.

Infectious diseases associated with molluscan shellfish consumption.

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  • 1Northeast Seafood Laboratory, Food and Drug Administration, Davisville, Rhode Island 02852.


A history of shellfish-vectored illnesses (i.e., those associated with consumption of clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops) occurring in the past nine decades is presented. Typhoid fever was a significant public health problem among consumers of raw molluscan shellfish earlier in this century. The development of more effective sewage treatment procedures and the institution of a national program following these outbreaks led to a series of measures which eventually eliminated shellfish-associated typhoid fever. Present-day problems associated with this food source still involve some wastewaterborne bacterial illnesses. However, the principal public health concerns are with wastewater-derived viral pathogens and with bacterial agents of an environmental origin. The nature, occurrence, and magnitude of these public health problems are described.

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