Oysters linked to Canadian norovirus outbreak distributed in USA

Raw oysters from British Columbia linked to an outbreak of Norovirus in Canada were also distributed in the USA, according to information just released by the FDA.

Since mid-March, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been investigating reports of an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses in three provinces: British Columbia (132 cases), Alberta (15 cases), and Ontario (25 cases).

Most of the outbreak victims reported eating raw oysters from the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia. Several of the illnesses have been confirmed to be due to Norovirus.

Four shellfish farms in British Columbia linked to the outbreak have been closed.

Typically, people infected with Norovirus develop diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Diarrhea tends to be watery and non-bloody. Diarrhea is more common in adults and vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms usually develop within 24-48 hours of consuming the contaminated food.

FDA has confirmed that potentially contaminated raw oysters harvested in the south and central parts of Baynes Sound, British Columbia, Canada, were distributed in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington. The oysters may also have entered other states, either directly from Canada or through further distribution within the US.

Retailers in the US are being advised to avoid serving raw oysters harvested from the following harvest locations within Baynes Sound: #1402060, #1411206, #1400483, and #278757.

What consumers should know
People who think they might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated oysters should talk to their health care providers. Contact your healthcare provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.