Corunna, Michigan Resident Tests Positive for Norovirus; 30 Additional Applebee’s Patrons Experiencing Symptoms
Thirty restaurant-goers who dined at a Corunna, Michigan Applebee’s during the period of March 9th through 12th became sick, all showing symptoms of norovirus. The Shiawassee County Health Department (SCHD) recently confirmed the presence of the virus in samples collected from ill individuals for testing.
A statement released by the SCHD Personal Health Services Division advised the public that “a total of thirty people experienced similar symptoms and have contacted the Shiawassee County Health Department.
The health department became aware of the illnesses when it followed up on information from a person from the state who had seen a complaint. Public health officials have not yet identified the precise source of transmission.
The investigation into the illnesses by the Shiawassee County Health Department led county public health employees to interview thirty people, all of whom reported symptoms of norovirus after eating at the same Applebee’s location. All thirty people dined at the restaurant between March 9th and 12th.
Nicole Greenway, director of personal community health for SCHD, said Applebee’s was fully cooperating with investigation and collaborating with public health officials where possible. The restaurant also fully sanitized the kitchen, bathroom and customer dining areas of the establishment. Applebee’s has confirmed that the entire restaurant has been scrubbed down and de-sanitized.
The first confirmed norovirus case sought treatment from their own physician and subsequently provided the test results to the health department. Several affected individuals also shared their stories and reported their illnesses on a website called ‘iwaspoisioned.com’ after eating at the Applebee’s restaurant.
Norovirus in a Nutshell
Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted from person to person. You can also contract norovirus from contaminated food or water, or by touching a surface with the virus on it. After it enters the body, the virus causes inflammation of your stomach and/or intestines, a condition called acute gastroenteritis. Nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting are all common symptoms associated with acute gastroenteritis.
Norovirus ranks as the top cause of outbreaks of foodborne disease in the United States, and is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis as well. The virus results in approximately 570-800 deaths in the United States each year. The virus also leads to around 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations annually and causes a total of 19-21 illnesses.
Proper handwashing – along with general cleanliness – is the most effective way to prevent norovirus. Not all pathogens are killed by the use of hand sanitizer, so actually going through the process of washing your hands is key to prevent illness.