— OPINION —
I will have to admit, in 30 years of performing meals security, I seldom recall a wellness division withholding from the public the supply of an outbreak – even Norovirus.
I am reminded by a story some ten years ago – After Food Security News broke the story that Taco Bell was the mysterious “Restaurant Chain A” linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 68 men and women in ten states, ABC Evening News praised Meals Security News for shining light on this story and the problem of the government’s lack of transparency when organizations make men and women sick. Other media, such as the LA Instances, Reuters, Daily Mail, The Consumerist, CBS News,Huffington Post, Fox News, and MSNBC, also hailed Meals Security News for shinning the light on the mystery taco restaurant. Most not too long ago, Barry Estabrook wrote a piece for The Atlantic detailing Meals Security New’s muckraking capabilities, but praised me and not the men and women who did all the perform.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that an outbreak of norovirus stemming from a North County restaurant has sickened close to one hundred men and women, according to the San Luis Obispo County Public Well being Division. SLO County Public Well being Epidemiologist Jessie Burmester mentioned 97 men and women have been reported sick as element of a confirmed norovirus outbreak earlier this month. Burmester mentioned the Public Well being Division traced the “unusual, extremely massive neighborhood outbreak” back to a North County restaurant, even though she did not disclose the name of the enterprise.
“When we execute our investigations, we’re seriously searching for a frequent supply or exposure point,” she mentioned. “Individuals have supplied the name of the restaurant regularly for all the folks that have reported on behalf of the 97 men and women so far.” Burmester mentioned the Public Well being Division reached its threshold for an outbreak — two reported instances in separate households — on May perhaps 15. That day, the agency received much more than two reports about the very same exposure supply, she mentioned. Comply with-up investigation showed some men and women experiencing symptoms of norovirus tied to that facility as early as May perhaps 11, Burmester added.
After it was identified, the Public Well being Division started functioning to assistance remove additional spread by pushing “mass cleaning and disinfection” of the restaurant, as nicely as attempting to track exactly where the instances originated. The restaurant in query has been cleaned 3 occasions given that the outbreak was very first reported, she mentioned. “This has been specifically difficult outbreak,” Burmester mentioned, “but it is not abnormal to see norovirus spread like this, for the reason that it does not take a lot of the virus to spread at all.”
Norovirus is a nasty bug.
Noroviruses are estimated to trigger 23 million instances of acute gastroenteritis (normally referred to as the “stomach flu”) in the U.S. every single year, and are the top trigger of gastroenteritis. In addition, norovirus outbreaks might be the most frequent foodborne illness outbreaks. Noroviruses can trigger extended outbreaks for the reason that of their higher infectivity, persistence in the atmosphere, resistance to frequent disinfectants, and difficulty in controlling their transmission via routine sanitary measures.
The norovirus is transmitted mostly via the fecal-oral route and fewer than one hundred norovirus particles are mentioned to be necessary to trigger infection. Transmission happens either particular person-to-particular person or via contamination of meals or water. Transmission can take place by:
· Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting that hand in your mouth
· Possessing direct speak to with an additional particular person who is infected with norovirus and displaying symptoms
· Sharing foods or consuming utensils with a person who is ill
· Exposure to aerosolized vomit
· Consuming meals contaminated by an infected meals handler.