More than 70 people sick after eating oysters

The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning about eating oysters after more than 70 people became sick with a gastro-intestinal illness since early December.

The illnesses have been reported to Island Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the First Nations Health Authority. All of those who have become sick ate raw or lightly-cooked oysters both in restaurants and at home.

The Centre for Disease Control says testing has confirmed the presence of norovirus. In order to kill the virus, as well as other organisms that can make you sick, you must cook oysters thoroughly -- which means cooking to a internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.

Unlike an illness related to oysters in summer (Vibrio) norovirus can be present in oysters all year.

The BCCDC says the outbreak is ongoing and more cases are expected to surface.

Anyone experiencing symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should call BC HealthLink at 811.  And if symptoms are severe or persistent -- call a doctor.

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