The Transylvania Times -

Officials: Norovirus Cause Of Recent Illness Outbreak - Brevard NC


August 6, 2018

A contagious norovirus has been reported as the cause of more than 200 people getting sick last week in Brevard.

“Transylvania Public Health (TPH) has received confirmatory laboratory tests from the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health,” said Tara Rybka, a TPH spokesperson in a press release issued Friday evening. “Of those people who were tested by their medical providers, a majority was positive for norovirus. We believe this outbreak was caused by being exposed to a highly-contagious virus in a public place.”

As previously reported, reports of a foodborne illness began last Monday and continued through the week.

Rybka stated that TPH was working with Transylvania Regional Hospital (TRH) to identify a source, while various social media posts were implicating the local McDonald’s as the source because many who were reporting to be ill said he or she had eaten there.

Rybka said that because of those social media posts, called-in reports, as well as information provided by TRH, they investigated the “whole picture,” and provided “technical assistance” to a local restaurant she did not name.

McDonald’s in Brevard “voluntarily” closed on Tuesday evening to take “proactive measures,” according to owner and operator Teresa Edwards, and reopened on Friday.

There have been nationwide reports of an outbreak of cyclosporasis contamination in McDonald’s salads, resulting in a recall, but TPH officials did not find that to be the cause.

“People get norovirus from direct contact with an infected person, consuming food or water that has been contaminated with norovirus or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth,” Rybka stated in the press release. “It only takes a few virus particles to make someone sick, and those who are ill shed billions of these particles. “People are most contagious when they are having symptoms like vomiting and for the first few days after recovering, although they can spread norovirus for two weeks or more after they feel better.”

Symptoms appear 24 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus, according to Rybka.

“Many of the people who reported symptoms to us recalled visiting a local restaurant one to two days before becoming ill,” she said. “Other people reported having close contact with someone who had norovirus symptoms prior to becoming ill.”

Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headaches and body aches that can last for one to three days are symptoms of the norovirus.

There are up to 21 million cases of acute gastroentreritis, which is caused by the norovirus, in the U.S. each year.


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