April 19, 2014

Norovirus is Most Common Foodborne Pathogen in US and Canada

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Norovirus is the most common foodborne pathogen in the US and Canada. But the odds of getting food poisoning and the pathogens in second, third and fourth place vary depending on what country you're in, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. For example, one eighth of all Canadians are estimated to be sickened by food poisoning annually, slightly less than the US where one sixth of the population is affected.  And, in Canada, the top four causes of food poisoning are Norovirus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter and non-typhoidal Salmonella. In the US, the same pathogens are the top four, but the rank in different order: Norovirus, non-typhoidal Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. The cause of most cases of food poisoning in Canada is not known. … [Read more...]

Norovirus Outbreak Closes Virginia School

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An elementary school in Alexandria, Virginia closed last week after more than 200 students and 30 staff members were sickened with gastroenteritis symptoms. Local health officials believe the cause is norovirus, which is easily spread and very contagious. John Adams Elementary School was closed on March 14, 2014 for cleaning and to have all shared surfaces disinfected. The school sent a letter to parents to tell them that some students experienced nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea on Wednesday, but when many more students became ill, they decided to close on Friday. The school was cleaned with a bleach and water solution, and the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems were turned off. HVAC units filters will be changed as part of the cleaning process. To help prevent the … [Read more...]

Dozens in Hartford County MD Sick With Food Poisoning Symptoms

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The health department in Hartford County, Md. has received dozens of reports of illness with symptoms that include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. The county is working with state officials to determine if the cause of the illnesses is Norovirus, foodborne bacteria or something else. Some of those who became ill ate at a restaurant and have submitted stool samples that are being tested. Results from those tests should be available soon, according to a health department spokesman. Norovirus is common at this time of year. A highly contagious virus, Norovirus accounts for about half of all food posioning outbreaks. Often a sick food handler is involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Like other foodborne illnesses, symptoms  of Norovirus include … [Read more...]

Sick Food Workers are Recipe for an Outbreak

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A study published in the Journal of Food Protection looked at food worker experiences with and beliefs about working while ill. Sick food workers are an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. The FDA recommends that anyone who is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea be excluded from work. The study interviewed 491 food workers from 391 randomly selected restaurants in nine states that participated in the Environmental Health Specialists Network of the CDC. The results are startling: almost 60% of workers went to work while they were ill. And 20% worked while they were ill with vomiting or diarrhea. The factors that kept them at work were concerns about job loss, leaving coworkers short staffed, and job responsibilities. The Minnesota Health Department has concluded … [Read more...]

Norovirus Sickened 282 at Jimmy John’s in Garden City, KS

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Norovirus was the cause of a December food poisoning outbreak that sickened 282 people who ate at a Jimmy John's restaurant in Garden City, Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has confirmed.  State and county officials worked together to determine the source of the outbreak which sickened customers who visited the restaurant from December 10 to December 24. The restaurant was inspected by the Kansas Department of Agriculture on December 18 and again on December 24. It closed voluntarily from December 24 through December 26 to clean and disinfect the restaurant. Norovirus is highly contagious. About half of all food posioning outbreaks are caused by norovirus, often a sick food handler is involved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … [Read more...]

New Norovirus Strain Effects and Significance

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Last year at this time we told you about a new strain of norovirus, called GII.4 Sydney that the CDC was tracking. Last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a warning about an outbreak in that state. The CDC has been studying this new strain. They now have information and statistics on the strain, and have analyzed data from outbreaks in five states. Since norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, and is often transmitted through contaminated food and drink, the discovery of this new strain is important. Norovirus causes 20 million illnesses every year in the U.S., causing 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Very few Americans have resistance to this strain. This new emerging strain has caused acute gastroenteritis … [Read more...]

Flu-Like Outbreak at Vegas Youth Football Event

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Health officials are reporting that there was an outbreak of flu-like illness among dozens of young players, parents, and coaches at a football tournament this week in Las Vegas. An unknown number of people were taken to the hospital for treatment. KVVU-TV in Las Vegas is reporting that 18 people were taken to hospitals; 13 of those people were children. Norovirus may be the cause. Flu-like symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting have sickened about 100 people, according to KSNV-TV in Las Vegas. People started getting sick on Friday, November 29, 2013. The event is the National Youth Football Championships and those sickened were staying at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. At least nine of the seventy teams participating in the event have been affected. Public health officials are … [Read more...]

The Holiday Season is Norovirus Season

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Norovirus, what many people call "stomach flu" is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S.  and its peak season coincides with the holiday season, November-January. Each year, about 20 million Americans get the stomach bug that causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Norovirus is extremely contagious and spreads quickly in crowded places like crowded, closed places such as preschools, daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, hotels, and cruise ships. You can get it by touching a contaminated surface,  eating or drinking food that is contaminated, or having direct contact with someone who has it. It takes fewer than 20 particles of the virus to make someone sick and the virus can live on hard surfaces … [Read more...]

Dozens Sick at Sawmill Creek Resort Convention in Ohio

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The Sandusky Register reports that about 44 people are sick after attending a Creative Health Care Management Convention at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio. The convention ran from September 10 to 13, 2013, and about 300 people were in attendance. Food served at the conference is being tested, and public health officials are also running tests on stool samples from the ill persons. About 100 questionnaires were passed out to attendees to try to pinpoint the cause of the illness. Officials suspect norovirus, since most people became sick suddenly. One sample did come back positive for the virus. Officials are stressing that inspections have not yet linked the illnesses to the Resort or food served at the convention. No conclusions have been drawn at this time. … [Read more...]

Sacramento Mulvaney’s Norovirus Outbreak Updated

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The outbreak of norovirus at Mulvaney's restaurant in Sacramento we told you about in March has been confirmed and updated. Laura McCasland, Communication & Media Officer of the Sacramento County Department of Health & Human Services told us that 138 people were sickened in this outbreak. The ill persons ate at the restaurant between Friday, February 22 and Tuesday, February 26, 2013. During the week of February 17 to February 24, 2013, at least six food service workers reported that they were ill. People started gettting sick between Friday, February 22, 2013 and Thursday, February 28, 2013. The cause of the illness was norovirus. The restaurant was inspected February 13, 2013 and passed. Public health officials suspect that the foods that are associated with the risk of … [Read more...]

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