HOUSTON (AP) _ Bacteria-tainted oysters from Galveston Bay have sickened 368 people, state health officials said in releasing updated figures on the nation's worst outbreak from raw oysters.

Of the 368 people made ill by the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria, 66 cases have been confirmed by laboratories, Doug McBride, a Texas Health Department spokesman, said Thursday.

The rest are clinical cases that meet the definition for the illness, he said. The latest figures were released as experts prepared for a national conference to study the outbreak and seek remedies.

The Pacific Northwest last summer recorded 209 lab-confirmed cases of illness caused by the same bacteria in oysters harvested in that region.

Galveston Bay was closed to oyster harvesting on June 26th because of the diarrheal illnesses. Officials say most of the illnesses in the current outbreak were in Texas, but health officials also have confirmed victims in Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado and California.

The illness can be fatal for someone with an immune deficiency. A few have required hospitalization, officials said. Most who became ill suffered flulike symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache.