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DHEC: Shellfish illness sickens SC residents - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

DHEC: Shellfish illness sickens SC residents

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(Source: Associated Press) (Source: Associated Press)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Officials are warning the public after three people in South Carolina became ill from eating shellfish.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said on Wednesday that the three people have confirmed cases of Vibrio cholerae.

Vibrio cholerae is a illness caused by bacteria that can be found in shellfish. DHEC said the bacteria causes gastroenteritis, not cholera.

"We are working with the Food and Drug Administration and many partners to identify the source of the contaminated shellfish," said Linda Bell, M.D. and state epidemiologist. "We are informing healthcare providers of the situation and will continue to monitor the state for additional cases."

DHEC said there is no evidence the contaminated shellfish originated in South Carolina waters.

They said the symptoms of Vibrio cholerae include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that begin from a few hours to up to five days after consumption of raw shellfish.

The infection is usually mild or without symptoms, but can occasionally be severe. In severe cases, an infected person may experience profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting that can cause dehydration and shock, DHEC said.

"The elderly, young and immune compromised are particularly at risk of developing illness from consuming raw shellfish," said Bell. "The best way to protect yourself and your family from getting the Vibrio illness is to thoroughly cook all shellfish before eating it."

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