Cholera outbreak affects four people near Qualicum Bay

Cholera outbreak affects four people near Qualicum Bay
Cholera outbreak affects four people near Qualicum Bay

Island Health is warning the public not to consume herring eggs that were harvested from French Creek to Qualicum Bay.

There had been a case of people getting sick and treated from eating the herring eggs that are believed to be contaminated with vibrio cholerae, a bacteria that is rarely seen here on the Island.

Health authorities recommend:

• No consumption of herring roe harvested from French Creek to Qualicum Bay from kelp, seaweed or other surfaces.

• If you are ill, keep hydrated by drinking small amounts of fluid frequently. Let your health-care provider know that you have eaten raw or lightly cooked herring eggs within five days of the onset of illness.

• As the bacteria can be passed from one person to another even if you don’t have symptoms, always wash your hands after going to the bathroom or caring for someone who has been ill.

• If you have stored herring eggs, call the First Nations Health Authority environmental public health services at 250-924-6125.

• Discard any stored herring eggs. Freezing does not kill the bacteria.

• When handling herring eggs, wash your hands and sanitize dishes and equipment to avoid cross contamination.

• Ensure other community members who might have received herring eggs are aware of the proper precautions.

• A sanitary shellfish closure exists for bivalves in the French Creek-Qualicum Bay area. Harvesters are reminded to check for closures prior to harvesting.

Authorities say their investigation into the outbreak in collaboration with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and First Nations communities is continuing.

The investigation includes testing marine water samples, leftover food samples, clinical samples and assessing the handling and distribution of the herring eggs.

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