O. Oysters Get Herpes Too
Yup, oysters get herpes too.
You’d think if you were a happy bivalve floating along with the ocean tide you’d be able to avoid certain things, like the flu or herpes. But it seems nothing can avoid the good ol’ herp.
You can’t catch oyster herpes from eating oysters. Although oysters may be considered an aphrodisiac, you don’t have to worry about catching anything more than amorous feelings from eating oysters. The virus can infect clams, scallops and oysters, but not humans.
Oyster herpes is devastating oyster farms. Scientists have known about oysters herpes for a while, but in 2008 a new strain emerged that can wipe-out 80% of an oyster bed in one week! The virus tends to kill the younger oysters. This new strain has been particularly bad in Europe and the United Kingdom. France in particular has experienced 100% death in some oyster beds. France used to produce 130,000 tonnes of oysters but this year is importing oysters.
The new strain may have emerged due to rising water temperatures. Oyster herpesvirus remains dormant until water temperatures exceed 16 degrees Celsius (61 degrees Fahrenheit). Some scientists speculate that extended lengths of time with warmer water temperatures may have allowed this virus to appear.
Oyster herpes is hard to diagnose. Oysters with herpes show no outward symptoms except for extensive deaths in oyster beds. DNA testing is required to detect the virus in the oysters. This makes it difficult to monitor and screen oyster beds for infections before it is too late.
So don’t go checking over your oysters before you eat them.