Foodborne Outbreak Tests Positive for Norovirus

Foodborne Outbreak Tests Positive for Norovirus

Transylvania Public Health has received confirmatory laboratory tests from the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. Of those people who were tested by their medical providers, a majority were positive for norovirus. We believe this outbreak was caused by being exposed to this highly-contagious virus in a public place. Although more information is continuing to come in, Transylvania Public Health has received more than 70 cases of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea reported by medical providers, as well as phone calls reporting similar symptoms in more than 200 people since Tuesday, July 31. Norovirus typically causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain that lasts for 1 to 3 days. Other symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches. These symptoms and length of illness match closely with the symptoms being reported by those who are ill. People get norovirus from direct contact with an infected person, consuming food or water that has been contaminated with norovirus or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth. It only takes a few virus particles to make someone sick, and those who are ill shed billions of these particles. People are most contagious when they are having symptoms like vomiting and for the first few days after recovering, although they can spread norovirus for two weeks or more after they feel better. Norovirus symptoms usually appear 24-48 hours after being exposed to the virus. Many (but not all) of the people who reported symptoms to us recalled visiting a local restaurant 1-2 days before becoming ill. Other people reported having close contact with someone who had norovirus symptoms prior...
Cleaning Up After Vomiting and Diarrhea

Cleaning Up After Vomiting and Diarrhea

If you or someone in your family has experienced vomiting or diarrhea, here are some cleaning guidelines that can help prevent the spread of disease: 1. Wear gloves when cleaning any vomit or stool. Remove and dispose of gloves carefully to avoid touching outside surfaces. Wash hands with soap and warm water after removing gloves. 2. Clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated with vomit/stool immediately using 1 2/3 cups household bleach per gallon of water or a bleach-based household cleaner. Don’t use undiluted bleach. 3. Immediately remove and wash clothing, towels, or bed linens that may be contaminated with vomit/stool using hot water and detergent. Don’t wash contaminated items with other clothing. If your washer has a sanitizing cycle, use that cycle. 4. Clean and disinfect soiled carpeting. Visible debris should be cleaned using an absorbent material (e.g. double layer paper towels) and discarded in a plastic bag to minimize aerosols. Clean with hot water and detergent and then steam clean (158° F for 5 min or 212° F for 1 min). Dry vacuuming is not...