British Columbia

B.C. weather linked to 'unprecedented' rates of illness from raw oysters

An unprecedented number of people in British Columbia reported raw shellfish-related illnesses in June and July.

35 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus-related infections were reported in B.C. during June and July

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that this summer has seen an 'unprecedented' number of infections traced to the consumption of raw oysters.

An unprecedented number of people in British Columbia reported raw shellfish-related illnesses in June and July, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said Friday.

The majority of the 35 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus-related infections reported were traced to B.C. oysters served raw in restaurants, the BCCDC said.

"People should always be aware of the health risks associated with eating raw or undercooked oysters," Marsha Taylor, Epidemiologist with the BCCDC said in a statement.

"The risk is especially high this summer, as we can see from the number of Vibrio infections reported during the last two months."

Warmer ocean temperatures in the summer mean higher concentrations of the naturally-occurring bacteria are generally found at this time, and this year's unseasonably high temperatures could be contributing to the rise in contamination levels, the BCCDC notes.

Anyone affected with symptoms of the infection — diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and/or bloody stools — should report their illness to their local public health office or primary care provider and see a physician if symptoms persist or become severe.

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