Food & Drink

This Health Risk Should Make You Think Twice About Eating Oysters

Published On 09/09/2015 Published On 09/09/2015

It's hard to go wrong with a legit oyster happy hour -- that is, unless it comes with a side of the stomach flu.

While there's always been the threat of slurping a bad raw oyster (here's how to avoid that), it turns out some of the normally delicious bivalves could also be carrying norovirus, aka the stomach flu, according to a new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

After analyzing the DNA of over 1,000 samples of norovirus from oysters, researchers found that 80% of known human norovirus strands matched the ones found in oysters, according to a report by TIME. This was especially the case when looking at oysters found in coastal regions that are more likely to be polluted by human sewage. Mmm, delicious. 

Worse yet, the study found that oysters act not only as a way for noroviruses to be transmitted to humans when eaten raw, but also as an incubator for the viruses to mutate between infectious outbreaks, which is just wonderful. The stomach flu is already one of the most common illnesses in the world, and as we all know, involves painful and debilitating vomiting among other unpleasant bodily functions. 

This is all to say you might be getting some fresh gastrointestinal distress served on the half shell. That hot sauce probably won't save you.

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and still wants oysters all day every day, including right now. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.



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