The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) has issued a warning for raw shellfish consumers after an increase of Norovirus cases associated with the consumption of B.C. oysters.
A news release by the BC CDC said that 40 cases of acute gastrointestinal illness have been reported to public health authorities since early March. The people who reported the cases to the centre all claim to have eaten raw B.C. oysters before falling ill.
Laboratory testing has confirmed the existence of the Norovirus in some of the cases and is suspected to be behind the others.
Epidemiologist Marsha Taylor with the BC CDC said the most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea.
“Most people will recover on their own with proper hydration and rest. In very severe cases people could experience more severe dehydration and need to seek medical attention,” Talyor said.
The CDC says in order to kill Norovirus and other pathogens, oysters must be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.
There is no precise source for the outbreak, but human sewage in marine environments is believed to be the cause of the contamination. Both oyster farms involved in the outbreak of the virus have been shut down by federal authorities.
In late 2016 and early 2017 there were 347 Norovirus outbreak cases associated with raw and under cooked oysters.
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