Health authorities issue warning about eating raw or ‘lightly cooked’ oysters

Anyone experiencing diarrhea or vomiting after eating shellfish should call BC HealthLink at 811

The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning to the public about eating oysters following a spike in reports of acute gastrointestinal illness.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning to the public about eating oysters following a spike in reports of acute gastrointestinal illness.

VANCOUVER — The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning to the public about eating oysters following a spike in reports of acute gastrointestinal illness.

The BCCDC reports that since early December there have been more than 70 cases of oyster-related illness reported to Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Island Health and First Nations Health Authority, that the outbreak is ongoing and they expect more cases.

Patients ate raw or lightly cooked oysters at restaurants or that were prepared at home.

“Testing in several of the cases confirmed the presence of norovirus, and we suspect norovirus in the others,” Dr. Eleni Galanis, epidemiologist at the BCCDC, said. “In order to kill norovirus and other bugs, people need to cook oysters thoroughly, to an internal temperate of 90 degrees celsius for 90 seconds.”

Galanis noted oysters can make people sick at any time during the year and while during summer there’s a increased risk of getting ill from Vibrio, or Vibrio parahaemolyticus, norovirus and other microorganisms can be present year-round.

The BCCDC advises anyone who experiences diarrhea or vomiting after eating shellfish to call BC HealthLink at 811 and to see their doctor if symptoms are severe or persist.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com