Albertans sickened after eating raw oysters

Alberta Health Services encourages proper cooking of shellfish

Albertans are being warned that eating raw oysters can make them very sick.

At least 42 people in the province have come down with gastrointestinal illnesses linked to the consumption of raw oysters from British Columbia. The shellfish was contaminated with viruses or bacteria.

Alberta Health Services is reminding Albertans that oysters should be cooked to an internal temperature of 90 C for at least 90 seconds. Cooking will lower the risk of getting food poisoning.

Discard any shellfish that does not open when cooked. Sanitize cutting boards and wash hands after handling raw oysters.

Keep raw shellfish refrigerated after purchase, and also refrigerate the cooked leftovers.

Illnesses associated with raw and under-cooked oysters cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Nausea, vomiting, fever, headaches and bloody stools can also occur.

Anyone who develops these symptoms of food poisoning 10 to 50 hours after eating oysters or shellfish should report the illness at Health Link (dial 811). Symptoms typically last from a day to a week and usually do not require treatment, however those with persistent or severe symptoms should contact a doctor.

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