Public health notice warns of norovirus outbreak linked to B.C. oysters

By The Canadian Press

The Public Health Agency of Canada says raw oysters from British Columbia have been linked to hundreds of cases of norovirus in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The agency has issued a public health notice advising that 279 cases of norovirus and gastrointestinal illness have been identified among people who ate raw oysters between mid-January and late March.

There have been no deaths and most of the cases have occurred in B.C., but the agency says 15 illnesses have been reported in Ontario and there has been one each in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The agency says a food recall was posted in February, while three more were issued last month for oysters from the Deep Bay and Union Bay areas off eastern Vancouver Island and the investigation could lead to a recall of other products.

Brands of oysters from the Taylor, Stellar Bay and Pacific Rim shellfish companies are covered by the recalls, and details from the agency show the oysters were sold in B.C., Yukon, all three Prairie provinces, Ontario and Quebec.

Health officials say norovirus symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps, and customers with recalled oysters should throw them out or return them to the place of purchase.

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