Norovirus outbreak associated to raw B.C. oysters

Norovirus outbreak associated to raw B.C. oysters

File photo.

File photo.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning raw shellfish consumers to take precautions after an increase of norovirus connected to consumption of raw B.C. oysters.

About 40 cases of acute gastrointestinal illness have been reported to public health authorities in B.C. since the start of March.

All people who came down sick reported consuming raw B.C. oysters and lab tests confirm the presence of norovirus in some cases and it is suspected in the others.

The investigation is ongoing and two oyster farms implicated in the outbreak have been closed by federal authorities.

Human sewage in the marine environment is believed to be the most likely cause of the shellfish contamination, but the BCCDC says the precise sources have not been identified.

If you have eaten shellfish recently and become ill with diarrhea and vomiting, you are advised to call B.C. Healthlink at 811 and should see a doctor if symptoms are severe or persist.

The BCCDC says people normally recover from norovirus on their own with hydration and rest, but severe dehydration requiring medical attention can happen on rare occasions.

The BCCDC says consumption of raw oysters is not encouraged and consumers are advised to cook oysters thoroughly to an internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.

Andy NealAndy Neal

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