Norovirus season* is still upon us, and here are some of the major stories that have come out in the last few days.
The Johnston County Department of Health, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have been working together on an outbreak investigation at the New Theatre Restaurant after many of the patrons became ill.
Yesterday, health officials said the number of reported cases had climbed to over 600 people; the majority of whom had attended performances at the establishment between Jan. 15th and Jan. 19th.
There have been no new cases among people who visited the restaurant in almost a week, and the venue was cleaned and disinfected last Friday with a disinfectant the EPA considers to be effective against noroviruses.
The cause of the outbreak is still unknown, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is asking that everyone who attended performances after January 15th to complete a confidential survey to help with the investigation. A few days ago, a representative from the restaurant suggested an ill patron as the cause of the outbreak, but a source has not been positively identified.
Meanwhile, in New York, an elementary school underwent a deep cleaning last week for suspected norovirus cases among the students. A large retirement community in Chicago has also been experiencing a norovirus outbreak, leading to the 500 residents to be confined to their apartments and group activities and dining cancelled. And in Seattle, a Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant had to temporarily close a few days ago because of a suspected norovirus outbreak.
Noroviruses like to hang out where we like to hang out, so remember to wash your hands!
*Here’s a handy map from the CDC of the number of norovirus outbreaks reported to the CDC by month for 2009-2012.