Norovirus – United States

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Suspected foodborne illness outbreak in Homer, Alaska hospital.

Reported symptoms were mainly diarrhea and stomach cramps, which went away after a few days. Fever was not a common symptom.

Over 70 employees at South Peninsula Hospital have been found to have gastrointestinal illness with all of them consuming food hat had been brought into the hospital for employees meals. The food was from several local food businesses.

The source of the outbreak is currently unknown.

Photo: Norovirus particles electron micrograph.

Norovirus, sometimes referred to as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

Infection is characterized by non-bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Fever or headaches may also occur. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, and recovery typically occurs within 1 to 3 days.

This may be through contaminated food or water or person-to-person contact. Risk factors include unsanitary food preparation and sharing close quarters.

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