Oysters, which already get a bad rap for their slimy texture and questionable appearance, infected 145 people with apparent food poisoning at a beer and oyster festival in Ocean City, Maryland. The food is often touted for being an aphrodisiac, the ideal food to get you in the mood — but in this case, these shellfish did not deliver.
The attendees of the festival, which took place at the restaurant Fager’s Island, were found to have experienced gastroenteritis, a condition often experienced by sufferers of norovirus and characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills. While no deaths were associated with the outbreak, those symptoms sound terribly unpleasant.
State and local health investigators are still on the hunt for the source of the infection — though gastroenteritis is always caused by infestation of a bacteria, virus, or other parasite, they have yet to determine which one was to blame.
“I can’t speculate on the cause until they arrive at their conclusions,” restaurant general manager Kevin Myers said in a statement.
Despite this uncertainty, the restaurant was cleared to host round two of the oyster festival on the evening of November 11.
Before the event on Saturday, Myers claimed, “We welcome [the health department’s] assistance and presence at Saturday’s event, and I assure any attendees or concerned patrons that all regulations have been and will be followed to ensure the proper food safety.”
The restaurant was cautious in allowing only workers who have not experienced symptoms to attend and serve at the festival. Hopefully, this round of attendees is in the clear and this horrific event doesn’t turn into one of the world’s biggest food poisoning scares.