Local News

Health officials: No cause found yet in 42nd St. Oyster Bar illnesses

Posted December 31, 2009 3:35 p.m. EST
Updated December 31, 2009 3:57 p.m. EST

42nd St. Oyster Bar, on West Jones Street in downtown Raleigh

— County health officials have not determined what caused an illness among several people who had eaten at the 42nd St. Oyster Bar in downtown Raleigh.

About 40 people have reported getting sick after eating at the popular restaurant on West Jones Street, said Andre Pierce, Wake County's environmental health and safety director. The complaints started on Nov. 30, and the frequency picked up last week.

Pierce said the county tested stool samples from five people reporting food-borne illnesses after eating at the restaurant. Two of those people were found to be ill with the norovirus, which is associated with a variety of illnesses including viral gastroenteritis and food poisoning.

Public health officials are still investigating the illness outbreak, Pierce said.

No illness reports have been received from people who dined at the restaurant since Dec. 22.

Owner Brad Hurley said last week the illnesses were likely caused by steamed oysters shipped from Louisiana.

"The common thread has been that people have eaten steamed oysters, and we've isolated it down to all of those steamed oysters coming out of Louisiana," Hurley said.

After the illnesses, the restaurant immediately stopped serving the Louisiana oysters and started using only oysters from North Carolina, he said.

Health workers are evaluating cases and symptoms. Anyone who has eaten at the restaurant in the past three weeks and later felt ill is asked to call the county health department at 919-856-7400.