The Vibrio parahaemolyticus outbreak, primarily in Western Canada, linked to eating raw oysters has grown to 81 cases after British Columbia and Saskatchewan reported four and one additional case(s), respectively.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus/CDC
Vibrio parahaemolyticus/CDC

The 81 cases have been reported from the following provinces: British Columbia (60), Alberta (19), Saskatchewan (1) and Ontario (1) with one case requiring hospitalization for their illness. No deaths have been reported.

Last month, a number of companies in the industry recalled  oysters harvested from BC coastal waters on or before August 18, 2015 and intended for raw consumption from the marketplace due to possible V. parahaemolyticus contamination.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says the people most at risk for complications from V. parahaemolyticus include pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, liver disease and low stomach acidity, young children and the elderly. Most people recover fully within a week.

Vibrio is a naturally-occurring bacterium that can be present at high levels in coastal waters during periods of increased water temperatures. Most people come in contact with Vibrio by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

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