The CDC has not named the restaurant, but a food worker who was not wearing gloves has been determined to be the cause behind a norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 300 people.
In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the outbreak in Tazewell County Illinois that occurred during 2022 from Nov. 19 through 26.
Among the 268 interviewed patients with information on illness onset date, symptoms commenced during Nov. 20 to 28, with 114 cases occurring on Nov. 24
Sick people who were residents of 10 other counties were reported. Some secondary cases were reported within the households of restaurant patrons and were not included in the total of 317 case-patients.
Norovirus outbreaks typically have many more sick people that are included in official counts because many people do not seek medical attention.
“After the release of news stories by the press, the number of reported ill persons doubled,” according to the CDC report.
Based on interviews with sick people the suspected food vehicle was salad, according to the report.
Nearly one third of the illnesses, 32 percent, occurred in people aged 20 to 49 years. The overall age range was from 6 months to 83 years. Signs and symptoms reported by 317 case-patients through an online questionnaire included vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, myalgias, chills, abdominal cramps and fever.
“Preparation with ungloved hands by a food handler who had vomiting on Nov. 22, and worked during Nov. 21-23, likely served as a main contributor to the outbreak. The restaurant voluntarily closed on Nov. 26 for disinfection and reopened on Nov. 29, after a health inspection,” the CDC reported.
“Because a large number of persons had patronized the restaurant over the Thanksgiving holiday, the ability to identify exact numbers of ill and well patrons was limited, and the number of cases is likely underreported.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s 2022 Food Code cites noroviruses as the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, and proper hand hygiene and exclusion of symptomatic employees are essential for preventing outbreaks”
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