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A norovirus outbreak linked to oysters from Canada's west coast has sickened 29 Minnesotans.

The Minnesota Department of Health has issued a warning to consumers, urging them not to eat raw oysters from British Columbia following a spate of illnesses.

The affected oysters from Bay 14-8 in British Columbia have been linked to the sickening of 29 Minnesotans, who became ill with confirmed or suspected norovirus gastroenteritis after eating the oysters at Travail Kitchen & Amusements in Robbinsdale on Mar. 20.

The restaurant served Stellar Bay Gold oysters that had been harvested on March 10.

“Travail Kitchen quickly brought the cases to our attention, and immediately stopped serving oysters,” said Duane Hudson, Hennepin County Public Health, Environmental Health manager.

"We are grateful to Travail for their help in protecting the public from foodborne illnesses."

MDH notes that while some parts of the harvest area have been closed, it's likely that some of the oysters remain in circulation. The department is calling on restaurants and distributors to check tags and discard oysters from Deep Water Bay 14-8.

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Consumers meanwhile can ask restaurants and suppliers to check shellstock tags before consuming.

The norovirus can cause nasty symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach cramps that start between 12-48 hours after ingesting the virus.

MDH says there is a "high level of norovirus illness activity in Minnesota" currently, though most is not associated with eating oysters.

"People with norovirus can spread it to others even after symptoms stop," said MDH Epidemiologist Supervisor Senior Carlota Medus. "The best way to limit spread is to wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing food for others."

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