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VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES EMERGENCY CLOSING OF UPPER YORK RIVER TO SHELLFISH HARVESTING
(RICHMOND, Va.)—The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that the upper York River was closed for shellfish harvesting due to sewage overflows in West Point associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea. The closure is effective June 10, 2013, through June 29, 2013, to reopen on June 30, 2013. The VDH Division of Shellfish Sanitation will monitor the shellfish during this period to determine if the area can be reopened sooner.
A map of the affected area is posted on the Division of Shellfish Sanitation’s home page at www.vdh.virginia.gov/shellfish. The affected shellfish are bivalve mollusks including oysters and clams, but not crabs or fin fish.
Approximately 175,000 gallons of rainwater and sewage overflowed into the Mattaponi River, a tributary of the York River. Due to potential microbiological hazards, shellfish taken from these areas are currently unacceptable for direct marketing. Ingesting shellfish taken from the upper York River at this time could cause gastrointestinal illnesses including Norovirus, Hepatitis A and Shigellosis.
Monitoring shellfish harvesting beds is an important means to protect the health of Virginians. The Division of Shellfish Sanitation watches shellfish beds after major storms to ensure that any shellfish harvested there do not contain pathogenic microbes that could make consumers of these shellfish ill.
For more information about how to protect yourself and your family before, during and after natural disasters, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Web site at www.vaemergency.com.