FDA Investigating Illnesses Linked to Raw Oysters

Five people have fallen ill with Shigella flexneri, a bacterium that spreads from contaminated feces.


The FDA is investigating a subset of a larger outbreak surrounding oysters that were harvested between February 12 and April 9, and traced back to Estero El Condon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Five people have fallen ill with Shigella flexneri, a bacterium that spreads from contaminated feces. One person has been hospitalized.

Laboratory analyses were used to confirm that reported clinical illnesses matched pathogens found in product samples from Estero El Cardon and distributed to restaurants in California, Nevada, New York and Arizona. Illnesses were reported in California, Nevada and New Hampshire. The FDA feels it is possible that additional states received these potentially contaminated oysters either directly from Mexico or through further distribution within the U.S.

On May 7 the Mexican Shellfish Sanitation Program authorities voluntarily closed the growing area of Estero El Cardon and halted oyster harvesting in response to the reported illnesses. The shelf-life of fresh, raw oysters is limited. All raw oysters from this growing area are no longer expected to be available to consumers. 

The FDA continues to work with Mexico's health authorities, and state and local partners continue to verify that this product is not longer available for sale or consumption.