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

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Conservation officers relocate two grizzlies away from Bella Coola

Officers worried the bears would become reliant on human food sources

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Explosives, firearms recovered from weekend standoff in Hagensborg

A high stakes standoff ended peacefully last Friday when single male was arrested without incident

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Most Read