Important Fisheries Notice

Apr. 19/18

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate norovirus and gastrointestinal illnesses in three provinces linked to raw oysters from British Columbia. The source of illness has been identified as raw oysters, but the cause of the contamination has not been identified. Currently, oyster farms in British Columbia that have been associated with illnesses in this outbreak have been closed as a part of the investigation. These closures aim to prevent further illness. The outbreak investigation is ongoing and additional actions to protect public health will be taken as needed.


Oysters are a known risk for causing food-related illness if consumed as a raw product. Norovirus illnesses can be avoided if raw oysters are cooked to an internal temperature of 90° Celsius (194° Fahrenheit) for a minimum of 90 seconds, and proper hand washing and food safety practices are followed.

Currently, a total of 126 cases of gastrointestinal illness linked to oyster consumption have been reported in three provinces: British Columbia (92).


No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between mid-March and early April 2018. Individuals who became sick reported eating raw oysters from British Columbia before the onset of their illness. Although not all cases of illness have been tested, testing of several cases has confirmed the presence of a norovirus infection. It is suspected that norovirus illness caused by the consumption of contaminated oysters is the cause of illness in the untested cases.


The food safety investigation into the cause of the contamination is ongoing.

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