As it turns out, oysters are an "important link in the transmission of norovirus," the stomach flu that turns a relaxing trip on the high seas into a floating hellscape of mass vomiting and diarrhea. Scientists found that 80% of the known human noroviruses matched the 1,077 samples of norovirus found in oysters. "The majority of the matches were in oysters from coastal waters, more likely to be contaminated with human sewage." Feces: the other cocktail sauce.
Scientists also discovered a "'convergence'" between new strains circulating in oysters and those circulating in humans," indicating that oysters are an "important reservoir" for incubating norovirus. Still, who can turn down a dollar oyster happy hour?
Not content with just ruining the raw bar experience, the Times also notes that while unwashed hands have been blamed for outbreaks in the past, aerosolized vomit may also play a role. "Scientists at North Carolina State built a "vomiting machine" that showed tiny infectious droplets of vomit can fly through the air to infect other people, just as droplets from a sneeze do." Goodbye food forever.