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Health Officials Warn Of Bacteria In Bay

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BALTIMORE (AP) Maryland health officials say people may be getting sick from eating raw oysters and other shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay.

The culprit is vibrio, a naturally occurring bacteria that's more prevalent in the bay during hot weather.

The state health department says there have been 24 cases of vibrio infection this year. That puts Maryland on pace to exceed the infection totals from previous years. Vibrio can cause wound infections, gastrointestinal disease and other ailments. People with open wounds who swim in the bay are also at risk.

It's not just the bay where vibrio is a problem. A health department spokesman says at least four of the Maryland cases have been linked to out-of-state oysters.

Health officials are advising Marylanders to cook oysters, clams and other bivalves until the weather cools.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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