Food Poisoning In Mt. Vernon

Lifestyle
April 24, 2014

Food Poisoning In Mt. Vernon

By Leigh Williams, Contributing Writer

As the investigation into a possible outbreak of food poisoning at a Mt. Vernon eatery continues, the Jefferson County Health Department has released preliminary test results that confirm the presence of noroviruses.

According to the JCHD, “approximately 90 people ate brunch prepared by Krieger’s Sports Bar at the Holiday Inn on Sunday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To date there have been interviews conducted with 34 people. These individuals did eat at this same food establishment on Sunday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Of the 34 people interviewed about this possible food borne illness outbreak, it was determined that there were 21 sickened and 13 reported no symptoms of illness. Six people presented to the ER for treatment and two were hospitalized.”

“Some of the people who came down with symptoms on Tuesday had visited relatives away from Mt. Vernon and those family members also become ill later in the week,” a release from the department continues.

The restaurant has since been given the “all clear,” indicating it is safe for customers to eat there. While many of the results for lab specimens sent for testing remain pending, the JCHD received one confirmed lab report of norovirus on April 14.

“Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that affect the intestinal tract causing gastroenteritis illness. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least half of all food borne outbreaks of gastroenteritis can be attributed to noroviruses. Some studies indicate that more than 60% of the U. S. population is exposed to one or more of these viruses by the age of 50. Noroviruses are highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person,” the information states.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body aches, headache, tiredness and low-grade fever and can typically last from 24 to 60 hours. The symptoms generally subside on their own.

“Humans are the only source for these viruses. When an infected person who did not wash hands thoroughly after toileting handles food that is not later cooked, others who eat the food can become infected. These viruses also are transmitted readily from person to person when hands are not washed after toiling,” the JCHD states. People can also be infected by drinking water contaminated by sewage containing one of these viruses or by consuming ice made from contaminated water. Unless thoroughly cooked, shellfish such as oysters harvested from waters containing sewage can transmit the viruses. There is some evidence that the viruses can be transmitted by aerosolized vomitus or contact with objects contaminated with fecal material.”

The health department offers the following preventative steps to protect against noroviruses:

• Frequently wash your hands, especially after toileting or changing diapers, before eating or preparing food.

• Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.

• Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting by using a bleach-based household cleaner. If using liquid household bleach prepared daily, one part bleach to nine parts water (1:10 dilution) is recommended.

• Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with feces or vomitus (use hot water and soap).

• Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

• Persons who are infected with norovirus should refrain from food preparation while they have symptoms and for three days after they recover from their illness.

The health department will continue its investigation and if new information becomes available, will update the local media with a press release. For more information, please call the health department at 618-244-7134 or visit www.jeffcohealth.blogspot.com

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