State closes shellfish beds in Wellfleet due to suspected norovirus illness

Harvested shellfish recalled after 75 cases of norovirus reported.

WELLFLEET, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), along with local health and shellfish authorities, have ordered the shellfish beds in the town of Wellfleet to be closed immediately because of a suspected outbreak of norovirus illness.

Public health officials have received reports of approximately 75 suspected cases of norovirus over the past two days associated with eating raw shellfish from the Wellfleet area. This includes oysters, hard-shell clams (“quahogs”), soft-shell clams (“steamers”), mussels and razor clams.

The town of Wellfleet and shellfish harvesters have been notified of the closure.  The DPH Food Protection Program is contacting businesses to recall any affected shellfish that was harvested on or after September 26, 2016.

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 norovirus illness 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.

Factsheet on norovirus prevention and steps for recovery.