The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to avoid eating raw oysters after a norovirus outbreak has sickened hundreds of people in the U.S. and Canada.

The outbreak has sickened 103 people in the U.S. and 279 in Canada, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canada. No deaths have been reported from the norovirus outbreak to date, officials have said.

The states affected by the norovirus outbreak include California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The territories of Canada impacted by the outbreak include British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

The FDA said that it is possible that additional states have received the potentially tainted oysters.

The potentially contaminated oysters were confirmed by the FDA to have been harvested from the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, where they were then distributed to retailers and restaurants in the affected states and territories of the outbreak. They are thought to have been harvested as early as Jan. 31, 2022.

According to the agency, the contaminated oysters can cause illness if they are eaten raw, especially in people who have compromised immune systems. If they are contaminated with norovirus, the oysters may look, smell, and even taste normal.

Restaurants and retailers are urged not to sell the potentially contaminated oysters. Consumers who may have the oysters in their possession are urged not to consume the tainted oysters and to dispose of them immediately.

Norovirus symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache, and body aches. Symptoms typically develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure to norovirus, with most people getting better within 1 to 3 days.

Norovirus can also lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and those with other illnesses. If you have severe dehydration, you should seek medical attention.

Norovirus infections can also be severe and lead to death. It is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S., with an estimated 2,500 outbreaks reported each year, CBS News reported.

Oysters Representation. Photo: Yuna Kim/Pixabay