A warning about shellfish in Delaware Bay

June 8, 2008 10:44:44 AM PDT
Researchers say they've found strains of bacteria in Delaware Bay shellfish that could pose a health threat to people with weakened immune systems. Gary Richards is the lead scientist for the U.S. Agriculture Department's seafood safety laboratory in Dover, Del., and the lead author of the two-year study, published in this month's edition of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

He says the study results are a "wake-up call to monitor the shore more closely."

Researchers caution that those in danger of getting sick shouldn't be eating raw shellfish anyway.

Still, researchers found two potentially dangerous species of the bacteria shewanella and one species of photobacterium in oysters and seawater in the bay.

The study says the bacteria could cause skin and blood infections.

Oyster companies in the bay already voluntarily shut down harvests the last two weeks of June -- a time when bacteria can especially flourish.

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Information from: The Press of Atlantic City, http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com

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