Norovirus outbreak linked to California restaurant sickens nearly 100
A norovirus outbreak originating from a restaurant in California has sickened about 100 people, according to the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health.
Jessie Burmester, an epidemiologist with the health department, told KSBY news that 97 cases have been confirmed in connection with the outbreak earlier this month. While Burmester did not release the name of the restaurant involved, she revealed that inquiries repeatedly pointed to the same establishment.
“Our primary objective during investigations is to identify a common source or point of exposure,” Burmester said. “So far, all individuals reporting illness have consistently provided the name of the restaurant.”
On May 15, the Department of Public Health officially declared an outbreak after receiving more than two reports of the same source of exposure. Further investigation revealed that some affected individuals began experiencing symptoms as early as May 11.
After identifying the outbreak, the Department of Public Health took action to prevent the further spread of norovirus. They required the restaurant to begin intensive cleaning and disinfection measures and launched an investigation to determine the source of the illnesses, according to Burmester.
Burmester provided an overview of the prevalence of norovirus outbreaks in California. “In California alone, we witness about 2,500 norovirus outbreaks each year.”
The San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health urges individuals who suspect they may have contracted norovirus to seek medical attention and report their illness to local public health departments. Furthermore, they emphasize the importance of taking the necessary measures to minimize the risk of infection, especially in environments where food is prepared and consumed.
Symptoms of norovirus infection can include severe vomiting and/or diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, fever and headache, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can last from one to three days. Most people recover without treatment, however, some may need medical attention for dehydration.
Norovirus is highly contagious and infected people can easily spread the infection to others. The virus can live on surfaces for long periods of time. Airborne droplets from the vomit of infected people can also spread the virus to people and contaminate surfaces.
To prevent others from getting sick, always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or caring for potentially infected people. Use soap and water to clean toilets or other areas that may be contaminated with feces or vomit.
Wash soiled clothing and bedding with hot water and detergent. Soft surfaces that cannot be washed can be steam cleaned.
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