|Medical Services ● Disease Control|
Norovirus Illness Associated with a Wedding Reception
On October 14, 2013, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) received a complaint of gastrointestinal illness associated with eating at a wedding reception on October 12, 2013, in Burleigh County.
The NDDoH interviewed 175 guests by phone using a standardized questionnaire. Of the 175 interviewed, 62 (35%) became ill after eating at the wedding reception. The most commonly reported symptoms were diarrhea (90%), nausea (89%), stomach cramps (77%), vomiting (75%) and chills (66%). The onsets of illness were reported to be from seven to 48 hours (median 29 hours) after the wedding reception meal and the duration of illness ranged from 11 to 78 hours (median 36.5 hours)
Four stool specimens were sent to the NDDoH Division of Laboratory Services. All four samples tested positive for Norovirus Group 2 by PCR.
The wedding was held at a hotel and the food was catered by that same hotel, along with some outside food items that were offered to the guests. An environmental assessment of the hotel's meal preparation practices did not reveal any deficiencies. The food vehicle in this outbreak was unable to be determined.
Norovirus is one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks. It is often spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, but also can be spread from person to person. Proper food handling, strict hand washing after using the bathroom, and allowing sick employees who handle food to stay home when they are ill are simple measures that can be taken to prevent norovirus outbreaks.
If you would like to report a foodborne illness or have questions about foodborne illness, please contact the NDDoH at 800.472.2180 or 701.328.2378
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