Officials closed the beds last week after samples tested positive for Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacterium that can cause illness when ingested. Oysters, mussels, hard clams, littleneck clams, chowder clams, quahogs, and soft-shell/steamer clams, all of which are harvested in the area, are vulnerable to the naturally occurring bacterium, which also prompted officials to call for a voluntary recall of such shellfish.
The bacterium thrives in warmer water, which has been the case this summer due to heat waves in recent weeks, particularly in July.
David Carey, the state's director of the Bureau of Agriculture, said he hopes the federal Food and Drug Administration will be able to test area waters in early September, which should mean the beds can be opened around Sept. 15.
“That's what we anticipate,” said Carey, adding with water temperatures still warm, testing them now would not yield favorable results. “We're not going to open the beds piecemeal.”
are warned to continue to avoid eating shellfish harvested from these
areas. If eaten, seek medical attention if symptoms occur, which can
include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, chills