The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today
suspended shellfish harvesting in New Jersey waters in portions of the
Delaware Bay due to the presence of a bacterium in excess of acceptable
levels. Approximately 93 square miles of the Delaware Bay are affected
by the suspension.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a naturally occurring bacterium found
in coastal waters and is not related to pollution or human waste. Eating
raw oysters, clams or mussels can cause Vp illness. Symptoms of Vp
illness include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and in
some cases, fever and chills. In 2001 and 2002, illnesses from Vp were
linked to New Jersey oysters; however, no further illnesses have been
attributed to New Jersey oysters since 2002. The bacteria thrives under
warm temperatures and is linked to raw oysters, clams or mussels
harvested and consumed during the summer months.
The DEP has an ongoing monitoring program for Vp and will lift the
harvest suspension when test results - two successive samples at least
four days apart - meet the criteria for safe harvest recommended by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.