October 18, 2021

Raw Oyster Vibrio Outbreak in Canada Ends With 23 Sick

A raw oyster Vibrio outbreak in Canada has ended with 23 sick, according to Public Health Canada. One person was hospitalized because their illness was so severe.

Raw Oyster Vibrio Outbreak in Canada Ends With 23 Sick

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a naturally occurring bacteria that grows in coastal waters when the water is warm, as in the summer months. Most people get sick by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters, in the summer.

The case count by province is: Saskatchewan (1), Quebec (7), New Brunswick (10), and Prince Edward Island (5). People got sick between early July and late October 2020. The patient age range is from 11 to 92 years. This infection can be spread person-to-person, especially since some people can be infected and not exhibit any symptoms.

People who are at most risk for complications from this infection include pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, liver disease, and low stomach acidity, along with the elderly and young children. People in those populations should not eat raw or undercooked shellfish.

You can’t see, smell, or taste Vibrio bacteria. To avoid this infection, do not eat raw or undercooked shellfish. Cook shellfish to a safe final internal temperature of 165°F to kill pathogens. And always store and transport shellfish at 39°F or below or on ice. Get shellfish only from licensed establishments or harvest them from a fishing area that is open according to local government officials.

In addition, discard any shellfish that don’t open when cooked, and discard shellfish that don’t close before they are cooked when you tap the shell. Keep raw and cooked shellfish separate. And wear heavy gloves when handing raw shellfish. Avoid exposing open wounds or broken skin to warm salt or brackish water or to raw shellfish.

Symptoms of a Vibrio infection include watery or bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, chills, and abnormally low blood pressure. Most people get better after a few days; severe illness is rare. If you have eaten raw oysters or other shellfish and have been ill with these symptoms, see your doctor. You could be part of this raw oyster Vibrio outbreak.

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