Health Department Investigating Possible Norovirus Outbreak

The Door County Public Health Department, working in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, is investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness associated with a breakfast event that was held on Tuesday, May 3rd at the Sandpiper Restaurant in Baileys Harbor. 84 of the 117 attendees and employees at the event were interviewed. Of that number, 40 people have reported illness. Investigation protocols included interviews, restaurant inspection, water testing, and, a review with restaurant staff of policies regarding illness-related work exclusions and sanitizing procedures. The symptoms described by those taken ill included vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, chills, body aches, fever, fatigue, and/or headaches. The investigation into the illness outbreak is ongoing. Three stool samples tested at the state lab of hygiene in Madison tested positive for norovirus. Precautions have been taken by the restaurant to sanitize surfaces that may have come in contact with the virus. Norovirus can be spread person-to-person, by contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Rhonda Kolberg, Director/Health Officer, for the Door County Public Health Department, says these viruses can remain in a person’s system for up to two weeks after recovery so thorough hand washing is in order.

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