Stellar Bay Shellfish is recalling some of its branded oysters because of a link to an outbreak of norovirus inventions in Canada.
Officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency report that the company is unclear on where the oysters were distributed, but is sure they went to British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario. They may have been distributed and sold nationwide.
The oysters have been identified as being responsible for a norovirus outbreak that has sickened at least 50 people, according to Vancouver Coastal Health. Victims report severe vomiting and diarrhea within 12 to 48 hours after eating the raw shellfish.
The virus can be killed by cooking oysters to an internal temperature of 90 degrees C (194 degrees F), for 90 seconds before eating, according to public health officials.
The local and federal officials in Canada, as well as the shellfish agency, are investigating, and “affected harvest areas are being closed and will reopen when contamination is cleared,” Vancouver Coastal Health said.
In 2016 and 2017, more than 400 people across Canada fell ill after eating raw B.C. oysters. The health officials later said it was believed the outbreak was linked to norovirus in sewage carried by ocean currents, combined with cold weather that helped the virus to survive.
Anyone who becomes ill after eating oysters is being asked to report it to Vancouver Coastal Health at 604-675-3800 or by e-mail to EHVC@vch.ca.
The implicated oysters are identified by the following information:
About norovirus infections
People with norovirus illness usually develop symptoms of gastroenteritis within 24 to 48 hours, but symptoms can start as early as 12 hours after exposure.
The illness often begins suddenly. Even after having the illness, you can still become re-infected by norovirus. The main symptoms of norovirus illness are diarrhea, vomiting (children usually experience more vomiting than adults), nausea and stomach cramps.
Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue (a general sense of tiredness). Most people feel better within one or two days, with symptoms resolving on their own, and experience no long-term health effects. As with any illness causing diarrhea or vomiting, people who are ill should drink plenty of liquids to replace lost body fluids and prevent dehydration. In severe cases, patients may need to be hospitalized and given fluids intravenously.