Update on food poisoning outbreaks suspected to be related to consumption of raw oysters

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 28) reported an update on its investigations into food poisoning outbreaks suspected to be related to the consumption of raw oysters, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene to prevent food-borne diseases.

     Further to those reported yesterday (April 27), an additional outbreak has been identified in which three men and two women, aged from 28 to 66, have developed abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and fever about nine to 41 hours after having dinner (including raw oysters) at a restaurant in Hung Hom on April 24. All of them sought medical attention.

     Regarding the outbreak in a restaurant in Tsuen Wan reported yesterday, an additional affected person has been identified. So far, four women, aged from 40 to 60, have developed similar symptoms about 34 to 45 hours after having dinner (including raw oysters) on April 23. Three sought medical attention.

     No hospitalisation was required and all affected persons have remained in a stable condition.

     So far, the CHP has recorded six recent outbreaks involving five restaurants affecting 29 persons comprising eight males and 21 females aged from 22 to 66.

     The CHP's investigations are ongoing.

     "We have alerted the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to the cases." a spokesman for the CHP said.

     To prevent food-borne diseases, members of the public are reminded to maintain personal, food and environmental hygiene at all times. When dining out:

* Raw oysters are considered a high-risk food. Persons who consume undercooked or contaminated oysters may contract food-borne diseases such as norovirus, hepatitis A virus or harmful bacteria like Vibrio parahaemolyticus;
* High-risk populations including children, the elderly and persons with weakened immunity should avoid eating undercooked food, such as shellfish and particularly raw oysters;
* Be a discerning consumer in choosing cold dishes, including sashimi, sushi and raw oysters, at a buffet;
* Ensure food is thoroughly cooked before eating during a hot pot or barbecue meal;
* Handle raw and cooked foods carefully and separate them completely during the cooking process;
* Use two sets of chopsticks and eating utensils to handle raw and cooked food;
* Patronise only reliable and licensed restaurants;
* Do not patronise illegal food hawkers;
* Drink boiled water;
* Do not try to use salt, vinegar, wine and wasabi to kill bacteria as they are not effective; and
* Always wash hands before eating and after going to the toilet.

Ends/Thursday, April 28, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:26