Another four cases of cholera in New Jersey have been linked to illegally imported crabmeat from South America, where an epidemic has killed more than 1,300 people.

The national Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday that eight people in Hudson and Union counties in New Jersey became ill after eating crabmeat imported from Ecuador. Previous reports put the count at four.The crabmeat in question, served at a private residence March 31 and April 1, was "grossly mishandled and illegally transported into the United States," the Atlanta-based CDC said. "No reported cases of cholera have been linked to commercially imported food products."

The CDC stressed that further transmission in the United States is unlikely, given the safety of U.S. drinking water and the quality of sewage treatment systems. Cholera is transmitted most often through contaminated water and food.

More than 170,000 cases have been reported since January in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil, with more than 1,300 deaths.