In a follow-up to a report last week about the Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak in Canada’s western provinces, Canadian health officials are now reporting an additional five cases of the gastrointestinal infection, bringing the total cases to 72.
As of Aug. 19, a total of 72 cases have been reported in British Columbia (53) and Alberta (19). One case has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Individuals became sick between June 1 and August 7, 2015 and all reported consumption of raw shellfish, primarily oysters. The investigation is ongoing to determine the source and distribution of these products.
This has prompted a recall of oysters harvested from BC coastal waters on or before August 18, 2015 and intended for raw consumption from the marketplace.
Health officials advise the public check to see if you have recalled product in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased. Consumers, retailers and distributors who are unsure if they have purchased affected oysters should contact the location where they were purchased.
V. parahaemolyticus live in brackish (mixed fresh and salt) water and causes a gastrointestinal illness, usually mild in healthy humans. It is found naturally in coastal waters in Canada and the United States, with higher concentrations in the summer. Most people come in contact with V. parahaemolyticus by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters. People can also pass on the bacteria to others through infected stool.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today