PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In a Virginia Health Department lab in Norfolk, staff tests water samples from oyster beds across the area. They determine which can be safely open for harvest and which should be condemned.


“An area is condemned due to the risk of pathogens, due to the risk of human sewage, particularly things like norovirus and hepatitis A,” explained Jon Dickerson with the health department.


Dickerson said the polluted water could make someone who eats the oysters sick with symptoms similar to the stomach flu.


“For older people, people with compromised immune systems, it can be quite a bit worse and can lead to death,” she said. “People have died from illnesses related to oysters.”


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