Ocean currents tied to B.C. norovirus outbreak: CDC

The article says it’s still unclear if one or many sewage sources were involved

Researchers with the BC Centre for Disease Control may have pinpointed how a mysterious norovirus outbreak spread, forcing the closure of 13 West Coast oyster farms and curtailing operations at others as hundreds of Canadians fell ill.

An article published in the latest edition of the British Columbia Medical Journal says sewage is often the cause of ocean contamination and contaminants spread by currents affected oyster farms on the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island.

Researchers determined the norovirus outbreak began last November and made more than 400 people sick across Canada by March, but investigators were initially uncertain how a single source of the illness could affect such a huge area.

The article says it’s still unclear if one or many sewage sources were involved, but a wet fall and unseasonably cold winter could have enhanced norovirus survival and allowed oysters to retain tainted ocean sediments longer than usual.

The authors also say the outbreak disproves claims that shellfish is safe to eat between September and April — months containing an ‘r’ — noting that bacteria and viruses persist in cold seawater and marine biotoxins occur year-round.

Darlene Winterburn, executive director of B.C.’s Shellfish Growers Association, says the Public Health Authority of Canada declared the outbreak over in early May and all but one of the affected farms has reopened.

She says the article may offer answers to the recent outbreak, but an exact cause may never be identified and the industry continues to work with the Centre for Disease Control, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the departments of Fisheries and Environment.

“The theories are very diverse and at this stage of the game, the unfortunate reality is that it is going to be very difficult to prove any because we don’t have (norovirus) in the water right now.”

She says the industry wants to learn from the outbreak and make changes to ensure it responds better, if it happens again.

Just Posted

Parksville water project seeks new manager

City operations manager moving to new job with RDN

Coming to Canada ‘like a dream’

Syrian family meets volunteers, councillor after living in Parksville for one month

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

Workers evacuated due to gas smell in Parksville

Firefighters, Fortis unable to find source, and workers back to work

Qualicum Beach makes list of top places to visit in 2018

Expedia Canada surveyed 1,000 Canadians for the list

Parksville MakerSpace members ride the rails

New room added for model train enthusiasts; workshop set for Jan. 21

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

Most Read