August 15, 2015 - 9:32 AM
VANCOUVER - The number of illnesses connected to eating raw shellfish from British Columbia has climbed to 67 cases in that province and in Alberta.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said 48 cases have been recorded in B.C., and 19 people have become ill in the neighbouring province since June 1.
The agency issued a public health notice Friday, saying it is collaborating with provincial and federal health officials, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to investigate the outbreak.
The naturally occurring bacteria that's been linked to raw oysters from B.C. can be present during increased water temperatures.
Alberta Health Services issued a warning Friday encouraging Albertans to cook their shellfish to reduce the risk of getting sick.
The Vancouver Coastal Health authority issued an order earlier this week that restaurants must cook all oysters harvested in the province before serving them.
Elderly people, infants, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk for the illness with symptoms including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and headaches.
To reduce that risk, Alberta Health Services advises that people eat only properly cooked shellfish, that they discard any shellfish that doesn't open when cook and avoid eating seafood when taking antacids, because reduced stomach acid may allow the bacteria to survive and grow in the intestinal tract.
Illness symptoms typically last for three days to a week and usually don't require any treatment.
The public health notice said one person was hospitalized because of the illness.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015