(Pacific Herring)

Last week, a random serious outbreak of cholera prompted the First Nations Health Authority and Island Health to issue an advisory to Vancouver Island residents.

The illness is linked to eating herring eggs and can have symptoms including mild to severe nausea, vomiting, and severe watery diarrhea.

However some people don’t have symptoms and may not know that they’re infected. The disease is highly infectious, even if the infected person does not have any symptoms.

As of this week, no new cases of the cholera infection have been logged, but the investigation about the specific Vibrio cholera bacteria is still ongoing.

The Department of Fisheries, BC Centre for Disease Control, and First Nations communities are working together to test marine water samples, leftover food samples, clinical samples and to assess the handling and distribution of the harvested herring eggs.

A closure notice has been issued to herring egg harvests in the area from the French Creek to Qualicum Bay, where the illness was first reported.

This outbreak is a rare and “unique” case for Canada, as cholera is typically common in countries where clean water and sanitation is inadequate.

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