The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning about a spike in gastrointestinal illness associated with eating oysters.
Since early December, over 70 cases of oyster-related illness have been reported to B.C. health authorities.
“Testing in several of the cases confirmed the presence of norovirus, and we suspect norovirus in the others,” says Dr. Eleni Galanis, an epidemiologist at the BCCDC. “In order to kill norovirus and other bugs, people need to cook oysters thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 90 degrees Celsius for 90 seconds.”
The agency says oysters can make people sick at any time during the year. While raw oyster consumption during the summer months is linked to an increased risk of illness from vibrio, other microorganisms like norovirus can be present all year.
In the meantime if you do eat oysters make sure they’re well cooked.
Anyone becoming ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should call BC HealthLink at 811.