The Louisiana Department of Health closed molluscan shellfish harvesting Area 13 Tuesday.  Area 13 is west of the Mississippi river in southern Jefferson and Lafourche parishes.

State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry signed the closure order. This closure is taken as a precautionary measure due to a possible Norovirus outbreak that may have been caused by oysters harvested from Area 13.  The closure took effect at sunset, Tuesday, March 30, 2010. 

Norovirus is a virus that causes the “stomach flu.” Effects of the virus usually begin 24-48 hours after exposure. Symptoms, which last for one to two days on average, can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Occasional symptoms may include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. Norovirus can be contracted several ways, including by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by infected food handlers. Outbreaks have occurred from eating undercooked oysters harvested from contaminated waters--cooking kills the virus.

LDH has notified local oyster harvesters that work the affected areas, as well as the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit