British Columbia

Health officials investigate reports of illness after Tofino, B.C. food festival

People contacted health officials after falling ill with a gastrointestinal illness. Officials are investigating possible connection to popular oyster festival in Tofino B.C.

Roughly half a dozen people complain of gastrointestinal illness

There have been reports that people contracted a gastrointestinal illness after an oyster festival on Vancouver Island last weekend. (Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP/Getty Images)

The health authority on Vancouver Island wants to hear from people who may have fallen ill after a food festival on the West Coast.

Island Health took to social media Friday morning, asking people to contact the health authority if they fell ill after attending an annual oyster festival held in Tofino last weekend.

Dr. Charmaine Enns, a medical health officer, said there have been reports that people contracted a gastrointestinal illness over the past week.

"People are reporting onset of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, generally feeling really unwell," Enns said.

The health authority is looking at a possible connection with the oyster festival. But Enns said health officials still need more information.

Could be oyster festival connection

About a half dozen calls came into health officials, Enns said, adding they hope to hear from more people.

"We have heard anecdotally that there has been quite a bit of buzz on social media about a larger number of people becoming ill."

Enns said health officials need to gather more data. "There's potentially a number of different sources and causes," she said.

"It was an oyster fest, so everybody thinks oysters, and everybody was eating oysters. But we actually need to do more of a look back."

Health officials are following up with event organizers and restaurant owners.

People who have fallen ill appear to be recovering. Enns said this type of illness can also be transmitted to other people.

Anyone who was at the festival and became ill is asked to contact the Island Health communicable disease line at 250-519-3401.