Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

This database provides summaries of significant food and water related outbreaks occurring since 1984 caused by E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Campylobacter and other pathogens. Read more »

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2012 Outbreak of Norovirus Associated with a Restaurant in Rothsay, Minnesota

In March 2012 staff at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) investigated an outbreak of norovirus among patrons of a restaurant located in Rothsay, Minnesota. Four of six meal companions from 3 households reported illness after eating at the restaurant on March 9. The complainants from separate households said they did not have any other common meals in the 5 days before illness onset. MDH staff interviewed restaurant patrons to obtain information about food/beverage consumption and illness history using contact information from credit card receipts provided by restaurant management. A total of 18 patrons were interviewed. Three primary cases were identified. In addition, one secondary case was identified and thus, was excluded from further analyses. The median incubation period was 29 hours (range, 20 to 24 hours). One case had recovered at the time of interview and had an illness duration of 40 hours. Three stool specimens tested positive for norovirus GII.4 New Orleans with identical nucleic acid sequences at the MDH Public Health Laboratory. Two of the specimens were from primary cases from different households, and the third specimen was from the secondary case who lived in the same household as a norovirus-positive primary case. Twelve of the 13 restaurant employees were interviewed. All denied recent gastrointestinal illness in themselves or in their household members. During a March 12 visit, MDH sanitarians noted that the restaurant was in general need of cleaning. No handwashing was observed during the inspection. All food contact was with bare hands, i.e., there was no glove use. Investigators concluded this was a norovirus outbreak at a restaurant located in Rothsay, Minnesota. the source and vehicle of the outbreak was not identified. No ill employees were identified. However, bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods at the restaurant may have contributed to the outbreak as employees never wore gloves when handling food.

  • Outbreak began:
  • March 2012
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Minnesota
  • Organism(s):
  • Norovirus
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Unknown
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • GII.4 New Orleans
  • Location(s):
  • Restaurant
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • No
  • Total ill:
  • 4
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Yes
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • 2
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • 2
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • 0
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • No
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 0
  • Any Deaths:
  • No
  • Number Dead:
  • 0
  • Any References:
  • No

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