Well, this figures. Because stealth omicron and our collective mental health disaster cascade aren't quite enough for us to deal with right now, norovirus has decided to insert itself into the local wellness conversation. Fun.

On April 1, the Department of Health announced that 26 Washingtonians had fallen ill with the virus after eating raw oysters harvested from the Baynes Sound area of British Columbia. Then on April 8, Public Health—Seattle and King County reported 10 people came down with a "norovirus-like illness" after consuming raw oysters at Il Terrazzo Carmine. The Centers for Disease Control has also linked the local bivalves to a nationwide norovirus outbreak, affecting 103 people so far in states ranging from California to Florida. 

For now, shellfish wholesalers and retailers have been asked to throw away any British Columbia oysters from harvest areas BC 14-8 or 14-15. Our fantastic local seafood spots should be up to date on this particular health notice, but if you're not feeling ready for a date with your porcelain throne any time soon, you can always ask the staff to confirm where they've sourced their bivalves

This isn't our first local norovirus outbreak of the year, either. Back in February, 13 people fell ill after dining at the Rock Wood Fired Pizza in Renton. Norovirus, which is highly contagious, is usually spread through and associated with food. (For the record, the CDC advises cooking raw shellfish to 145 degrees to prevent any foodborne illness.)

Typically, you'll develop symptoms within 12 to 48 hours after consuming or being exposed to the virus. Symptoms—a fun gamut of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain—usually clear up after one to three days. It's not typically a serious illness, although it may cause some adverse effects, usually dehydration, in young children, seniors, and pregnant people.

As we all know so well by now, washing hands thoroughly and disinfecting surfaces if you've been sick can also go a long way to prevent cross-contamination and infecting others. So, you know, don't be shellfish.

This article has been updated on April 8 with additional information.

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