Campbell River lab involved in oyster virus detection

A new molecular-based diagnostic test used to idenitfy the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vpara) in raw culture oysters will reduce the wait time for results from four days to 24 hours.

“Following the Vpara outbreak in 2015 we have been working with all affected parties to understand and improve the regulatory and operational framework for harvesting and distributing oysters for raw consumption.” said Dr. Myron Roth, the B.C. Government’s Industry Specialist for Aquaculture & Seafood. “The development of additional testing tools that are both rapid and accurate will help us achieve our goal and ensure oysters are safe to eat, especially during warm summer month when the risk to Vpara is highest.”

Vpara is a naturally occurring marine bacteria that normally poses no threat of illness from consuming raw oysters.

Numbers of the bacterium present are kept in check in by cool coastal waters, but may proliferate with increases in water temperatures and favourable biological factors.

It is critical to monitor numbers of Vpara and maintain temperature control at time of harvest, transport and distribution to stores.

During warmer summer months, monitoring is especially important to ensure Vpara does not reach levels that result in illness after consuming raw oysters.

Cooking oysters renders Vpara harmless.

Currently, the approved testing for Vpara in Canadian shellfish is via a bacterial culture test, which requires a number of days to detect bacterial through seeing colonies grown on agar plates.

By looking at DNA, scientists will be able to tell overnight if Vpara is present.

The Canadian shellfish industry has been pushing for molecular-based diagnostic testing for Vpara in order to improve shelf life for their high-value product.

Mac’s Oysters is partly funding the research along with the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Federal Industrial Research Assistance Programme.

Dr Ahmed Siah of BC CAHS in Campbell River will lead the project team which will look for Vpara in oysters using the existing test side by side and comparing results with the new method.

“We hope the project will prove that molecular-based diagnostic testing is a practical and reliable alternative to the classical methods, and one that could eventually be accepted by Health Canada,” Siah said.

“We have confidence in the molecular technologies; we need to assure the regulatory bodies that this technique is as effective as the classic bacterial culture test for detecting Vpara.”

BC CAHS will complete the project before next summer, and pending government review and approval of the results, shellfish producers may be able to take advantage of the new test next year..

The wholesale value of B.C.’s farmed oyster industry in 2014 was $36 million.

The 2015 ban is estimated to have cost the industry over a million dollars in lost sales.

Indirectly, the ban impacted B.C.’s oyster brand, compounding lost sales and market share.

Of particular concern to producers are reduced sales of oysters not considered “fresh” while they waited results from the testing procedures.

Just Posted

City of Campbell River making headway on invasive species treatment

Too many private property owners unresponsive to notifications regarding knotweed, however

Campbell River Ravens swept out of PNWLL playoffs

The Campbell River Ravens were swept out of the Jr. B Pacific… Continue reading

Land-based aquaculture proponent gets Haig-Brown Conservation Award

Eric Hobson known for financing and building Kuterra in partnership with ‘Namgis First Nation

La Familia gets Campbell River’s River City Arts Festival swaying to the music

Campbell River Arts Festival was treated to the sounds of Latin music… Continue reading

Disaster risk reduction course open to Campbell River high school students this fall

SRD protective services coordinator hopes program will eventually become integrated into curriculum

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

B.C. Ferries crew member’s medical emergency causes cancellations on Nanaimo route

One sailing from West Vancouver and one sailing from Nanaimo cancelled Monday

Most Read