Island Health says it is investigating confirmed cases of Vibrio cholerae infection contracted by people who ate herring eggs on Vancouver Island.
The health authority is now warning the public not to consume herring eggs found on kelp, seaweed or other surfaces that have been harvested from the French Creek to Qualicum Bay area, as they could be tainted.
Island Health did not specify how many people fell ill from eating the herring eggs or how severe their symptoms were.
Vibrio cholerae is a bacterium found in water that can cause intestinal illness including the disease cholera.
It called the situation “unique” and said it will release more information as it becomes available.
CBC reports Island Health says Norovirus is likely to blame after more than 100 people who ate raw oysters in Tofino earlier this month fell ill.
Roughly 120 people, many of whom had attended the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, suffered gastrointestinal symptoms last week.
But Island Health says people got sick at more than one location, and that people reported being ill over the course of several days.
They say it appears everyone who became ill consumed raw oysters from the same supplier, who is not being named.
Why not? Going public failure.
“The predominant amount of evidence clearly shows that raw oysters at that particular point in time that were available were the cause of the illness,” said Paul Hasselback, a medical health officer for Island Health.
Hasselback says they are now investigating how the affected oysters were harvested and transported.
There have been a number of shellfish-related illnesses in B.C. in the past two years, and officials have warned that the warming climate is linked to an increase in food poisoning from oysters.