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Health agency warns of illnesses linked to raw or contaminated shellfish

Jul 27 2012

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is reminding people not to harvest shellfish in areas that are closed due to toxins or bacterial infection.

Five people in B.C. have fallen ill so far this year from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness.

The illnesses have been linked to raw shellfish served in restaurants, purchased through retail outlets or harvested by individuals.

Shellfish also may accumulate viruses and toxins. A 2010 norovirus outbreak was linked to raw oysters, and in 2011, more than 60 people became sick with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning after eating cooked mussels.

The centre urges people to buy shellfish from approved sources that are subject to federal inspections, cook all shellfish, store cooked and raw shellfish separately and obey warnings posted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. To see if an area is open for harvesting, call 1-866-431-3474.

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