Almost 100 people have fallen ill due to a major norovirus outbreak traced back to a North County restaurant. Although the name of the establishment remains undisclosed by officials, an independent investigation suggests a Paso Robles restaurant as the likely origin.
Nearly 100 People Infected
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department reports that 97 people have fallen ill due to this norovirus outbreak, terming it an “unusual, very large community outbreak.” According to Jessie Burmester, SLO County Public Health Epidemiologist, the outbreak reached the health department’s threshold of two reported cases from separate households on May 15. Further investigation revealed people experiencing symptoms tied to the same exposure source as early as May 11.
The Challenge of Containing Norovirus Outbreak
Norovirus, known for causing health crises on cruise ships, spreads quickly and easily, even with minimal contact. Norovirus typically resolves within two days without medical intervention. Yet, it remains a significant health concern due to its highly contagious nature. According to Burmester, around 2,500 norovirus outbreaks occur each year, affecting between 18 million and 21 million Americans.
The public health department is diligently working to eliminate further spread by pushing “mass cleaning and disinfection” at the implicated restaurant. The facility has undergone cleaning thrice since the outbreak’s report.
Paso Robles Restaurant: The Likely Epicenter
While the SLO County Public Health Department has not yet released the restaurant’s name, sources suggest a Paso Robles restaurant as the likely source of the outbreak. Individuals consistently named a Paso Robles as their point of exposure.
How to Prevent the Spread of Norovirus?
While the health department monitors several other suspected potential norovirus outbreaks, everyone is urged to remember essential preventive measures. These include thorough hand washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, staying hydrated, and refraining from going to work when ill.
Officials continue to address the source of contamination and prevent future outbreaks. The situation reminds us all of the importance of diligent food safety practices to ensure public health.
Public health officials are waiting on test results to confirm the outbreak’s cause. We will provide updates as more information becomes available. Stay safe and keep well-informed about food safety.