Outbreak of norovirus associated with raw BC oysters

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning raw shellfish consumers to take steps to protect their health following an increase in cases of norovirus associated with consumption of raw BC oysters.

Since early March 2018, approximately 40 cases of acute gastrointestinal illness have been reported to public health authorities in BC. All of the ill people reported consuming raw BC oysters. Laboratory testing has confirmed the presence of norovirus in some of the cases and it is suspected in the others. The investigation is ongoing.

In order to kill norovirus and other pathogens, the BCCDC recommends consumers cook oysters thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 90?C (degrees Celsius) for 90 seconds. Consumption of raw oysters is not encouraged.  

Two oyster farms implicated in the outbreak have been closed by federal authorities.

While the precise sources of contamination have not been identified, human sewage in the marine environment is currently believed to be the most plausible cause of shellfish contamination.

Anyone becoming ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should call BC HealthLink at 811. If symptoms are severe or persist, they should see their physician. Oyster-related illness can be reported to your local health authority for investigation and follow-up. 

For most people, norovirus is a self-limiting illness and people will recover on their own with proper hydration and rest. On rare occasions, dehydration may be severe and require medical attention.

Learn more about Norovirus:
http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/norovirus-norwalk-like-virus  

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