British Columbia has recorded its first case this year of someone being sickened by eating raw oysters contaminated with Vibrio bacteria.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said the illness was reported June 30 in the Vancouver area.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria grow in seawater and can end up in shellfish like oysters and clams. When water temperatures rise in the summer, the accumulations of the naturally occurring bacteria increase to the point that eating undercooked shellfish can give people nausea, fever and diarrhea.
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Last year's outbreak of the Vibrio-caused illness was the biggest in Canadian history and sickened at least 73 British Columbians. Sixty of the illnesses were due to eating contaminated raw or undercooked B.C. oysters in restaurants. The other 13 illnesses were traced to exposure to seawater with high levels of the bacteria.
At the height of the outbreak last summer, Vancouver Coastal Health ordered restaurants not to serve raw oysters harvested from B.C. waters and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a food recall for B.C. oysters.
"Eating raw shellfish increases your risk of Vibrio and other infections," said Dr. Eleni Galanis, epidemiologist at the BCCDC, in a release.
"It's best to eat them cooked, but if you choose to eat raw shellfish like oysters, then understand the risks and take steps to reduce your likelihood of illness."