FDA warns about norovirus risk from British Columbia oysters

FDA issues an alert about a norovirus outbreak involving seafood from Canada | Miami Herald

"The FDA has confirmed that potentially contaminated raw oysters harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, were distributed to California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington".

About 100 Californians have fallen ill with norovirus symptoms after eating oysters from restaurants and retail stores, according to Food Safety News.

Officials say the number of new illnesses is declining but the investigation is ongoing.

In Canada, a total of 172 cases of gastrointestinal illness linked to oyster consumption have been reported in three provinces: British Columbia (132), Alberta (15), and Ontario (25). Those farms were closed between March 23 and April 13 and haven't reopened. They will remain closed until further notice. "It added that lab analysis has identified that an uncommon type of norovirus is involved", according to the CIDRAP statement.

"Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone", the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.

Diarrhea is more common in adults and vomiting is more common in children, says the FDA. FDA has confirmed that potentially contaminated oysters harvested in parts of BC were distributed to the US, specifically California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington. It is possible that additional states received these oysters. Restaurants and retailers should not distribute or serve oysters from these farms, which can be recognized by the following landfile numbers located on the shellfish tags: CLF #1402060, CLF #1411206, CLF #1400483, and CLF #278757. The California Department of Pubic Health (CDPH) is warning consumers to avoid that shellfish. Oysters are particularly prone to such pathogens.

Canada's Public Health Agency advises that oysters should be fully cooked in order to kill norovirus - partially cooking will not solve the problem. Those with weaker immune systems, such as pregnant women, young children or the elderly, may develop more severe symptoms. Foods contaminated with noroviruses may still look, smell, and taste normal. The raw oysters are linked to an outbreak of norovirus illnesses. People usually get sick about 12 to 48 hours after contacting the virus, and lasts for a few days.

The most common symptoms of the illness are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps, but others can include a fever, chills and aches. Diarrhea tends to be watery and non-bloody.

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