Health officials say norovirus likely cause of 60 illnesses

By on May 16, 2019

About 60 people who fell ill after an event in Manteo earlier this month probably suffered from a gastrointestinal virus, health officials say.

An estimated 250 people were at the event May 3 and as many as 60 became sick. Only three reported seeking medical attention, a Dare County health department statement said.

“In this circumstance, it is possible that an asymptomatic, but still infectious individual attended the event and led to the outbreak due to the large number of people in close contact,” said Health & Human Services Director Sheila Davies.

The most common symptoms of gastrointestinal viruses, such as Norovirus, are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.

Considering the incubation period and length of illness, Public Health officials believe that the illness is no longer an ongoing public health concern. According to the CDC, a person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within one to three days.

Gastrointestinal viruses, such as norovirus, are highly contagious, and can spread through casual contact such as handshakes, touching contaminated door knobs, or touching items at a self-serve beverage station.

Dare County Department of Health & Human Services’ Environmental Health Unit found the caterer to be in compliance with NC Food Code regulations with respect to food handling, preparation, cooking temperatures, transporting and hot/cold holding temperatures.

All food supplied by the caterer was from an approved source. All caterer staff members were in compliance with respect to service of food, utensil usage, clothing and gloves.

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