A rise in sickness due to oysters

Because nothing good can last and all my joys must be squashed forever, I read this article from The Washing Times, Oyster-related infections on rise. And just as I've been sharpening my oyster knife and readying myself to begin a little experiment to find the best oysters (not in a restaurant) in New York City! According to the article:

Oysters on the half-shell, long a treat for seafood lovers, have become an enemy of public health officials, who point to a continuing rise in human infections traced to the mollusks.

There has been a "sustained increase in incidence of [vibrio]," a bacteria primarily transmitted to humans who consume oysters that have not been thoroughly cooked, according to a report published in the current issue of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The culprit? A sneaky bacterium by the name of Vibrio vulnificus. From the CDC's Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases listing on Vibrio vulnificus, "Although oysters can be harvested legally only from waters free from fecal contamination, even legally harvested oysters can be contaminated with V. vulnificus because the bacterium is naturally present in marine environments. V. vulnificus does not alter the appearance, taste, or odor of oysters."

Yikes! One hope, at least for those of us up north: it likes warm seawater, so until it gets warm up here (and I don't know how warm is "warm" for V. vulnificus) we should be safe. I mean, as safe as one ever is eating raw seafood. [via del.icio.us/sautewednesday]