In British Columbia today, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) issued a warning concerning an increase in norovirus cases linked to raw 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.
Two oyster farms implicated in the outbreak have been closed by federal authorities.
In late 2016 and early 2017, 347 norovirus outbreak cases associated with raw or undercooked BC oysters were reported in BC, Alberta and Ontario.
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.
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.
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