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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2013 Norovirus Associated with a Catered Funeral Lunch, Anoka, Minnesota

On December 3, 2013 the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) foodborne illness hotline received a complaint of gastrointestinal illness among attendees of a funeral held in Anoka, Minnesota on November 30. The complaint reported that attendees had become ill after the event, which included a lunch catered by a St. Paul catering company on November 30 and a dinner for the family on November 29. Sanitarians from MDH were notified and an investigation was conducted. A partial list of funeral attendees was provided by a family member. Stool specimens were collected from two attendees and submitted to the MDH Public Health Laboratory for testing. Eight family members were interviewed. Four met the case definition. All cases at the funeral lunch while three of four cases ate the dinner. Investigators concluded the lunch was the most likely meal to have caused illness. The lunch was served buffet style. No food item was significantly associated with illness, but 3 of the 4 cases ate a ham croissant sandwich, while none of the controls ate that type of sandwich (p=0.14). MDH sanitarians visited the catering company on Decmeber 5. Bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods was observed. One employee reported illness prior to the implicated meal date. He reported vomiting on November 25 but was cleared to work on November 29. Additionally, a dishwasher reported vomiting on November 30. A stool sample collected from the employee who reported illness before November 30 was positive for norovirus GI. Two stool samples collected from ill patrons were also positive for norovirus GI. Nucleic acid sequencing was conducted on the patron and employee specimens. The sequences were identical. Investigators concluded this was a foodborne outbreak of norovirus associated with a funeral lunch buffet. While a specific food vehicle was not identified, the source of contamination was a ill food handler who had contact with ready-to-eat foods.

  • Outbreak began:
  • November 2013
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Minnesota
  • Organism(s):
  • Norovirus
  • Vehicle(s):
  • ready to eat food
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • GI
  • 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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