Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

Albertans urged to properly cook oysters – AHS

Investigations continue into Albertans becoming ill due to consuming raw oysters from British Columbia - AHS.

Investigations continue into Albertans becoming ill due to consuming raw oysters from British Columbia.

As of March 7, 40 Albertans have had gastrointestinal symptoms from the raw oysters, states a public announcement from Alberta Health Services.

“Some of these cases have been lab-confirmed as norovirus,” states the release.

“As illnesses linked with consumption of raw and undercooked B.C. oysters continue to be reported,” it continues. “AHS is again reminding Albertans of the health risks associated with consumption of raw oysters.

AHS recommends several precautions, including not consuming oysters unless fully cooked, especially if they’re from British Columbia; cooking at 90 degrees C for 90 seconds will decrease the risk of illness; keeping raw and cooked shellfish separate and keeping shellfish cold, below 4 degrees C.

Other ways to avoid illness are buy sanitizing cutting boards, counters and knives used to prepare raw foods.

What to look out for

Some of the common illnesses associated with raw or uncooked oysters or shellfish include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps plus other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fever, headache and bloody stools.

Generally, states the release, symptoms last for one day to a week, “and usually do not require any treatment; however, any Albertan whose symptoms persist or become more severe should visit a doctor.”

The Alberta cases have been reported in Calgary and Edmonton Zones, and all experienced onset of symptoms between January and February of 2017. This is the first outbreak investigation into illness linked to consumption of raw oysters in Alberta since 2015, when 19 cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection were linked to consumption of raw oysters.