MT. VERNON — Officials of the Jefferson County Health Department say they have received one confirmed lab result of norovirus as a result of its ongoing investigating into a possible food borne illness outbreak.
The health department first started receiving phone calls on April 8 about individuals who were reporting symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and low grade fever.
Approximately 90 people ate brunch prepared by Krieger’s Sports Bar at the Holiday Inn between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6. To date, there have been interviews conducted with 34 people, the health department reports in a news release. These individuals did eat at Krieger’s on that date. Of the people interviewed, it was determined 21 sickened and 13 reported no symptoms of illness. Six people were presented to the emergency room for treatment and two were hospitalized, the department reported.
Some of the people who came down with symptoms on Tuesday had visited relatives away from Mt. Vernon and those family members also became ill later in the week.
In addition to the one confirmed case of norovirus, other specimens sent for testing are pending, the department stated.
Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that affect the intestinal tract causing gastroenteritis illness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least half of all food borne outbreaks of gastroenteritis can be attributed to noroviruses. Some studies indicate that more than 60 percent of the U.S. population is exposed to one or more of these viruses by the age of 50. Noroviruses are highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person.
The department stated, “Humans are the only source for these viruses. When an infected person who did no wash hands thoroughly after toileting handles food that is not later cooked, others who eat the food can become infected. These viruses also are transmitted readily from person to person when hands are not washed after toiling. People can also be infected by drinking water contaminated by sewage containing one of these viruses or by consuming ice made from contaminated water. Unless thoroughly cooked, shellfish such as oysters harvested from waters containing sewage can transmit the viruses.”