April 16, 2018
EDMONTON – Nine cases of gastro-intestinal illness (seven in Edmonton and two in Calgary) potentially linked to consumption of raw oysters from British Columbia are under investigation prompting Alberta Health Services (AHS) to remind all Albertans of the risk of illness associated with consumption of raw shellfish, and important precautions to protect themselves.
To reduce risk of illness, AHS advises:
Illnesses associated with raw oysters or shellfish contaminated with viruses or bacteria commonly cause vomiting, watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Other symptoms can include nausea, fever, headache and bloody stools.
Although anyone who consumes raw shellfish is at risk of illness, people with weakened immune systems, young children, pregnant women and older adults are at increased risk for developing complications if they get sick.
Individuals who do develop these symptoms within 10 to 50 hours of eating raw shellfish are advised to contact Health Link at 811 to report the illness.
As with most gastro-intestinal illnesses, symptoms typically 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 cluster of gastro-intestinal illnesses currently under investigation experienced onset of symptoms between March 15 and 31. The type of illness has not been lab-confirmed. This is the second outbreak investigation into illness linked to consumption of raw oysters, in Alberta, in the past two years. In 2017, a similar outbreak was declared and Alberta completed an investigation that confirmed 42 cases in the province were linked to consumption of raw oysters.
For more information about shellfish food safety visit: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/healthy-eating-saine-alimentation/safety-salubrite/meat-viandes/shellfish-mollusques-eng.php.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
- 30 -
For media inquiries, contact: