Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database

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2013 Outbreak of Norovirus Associated with a Bakery, Olmsted County, Minnesota

In March 2013 Minnesota public health officials investigated an outbreak of norovirus among persons who had attended a wedding reception on March 9. The bride reported that 24 of 33 guests became ill after the reception which was held at a restaurant. The bride also reported that she had picked up a special order cake from a bakery in Rochester, Minnesota. The cake was served by restaurant staff during the reception. Twenty-one wedding guests met the case definition. The median incubation was 29 hours (range 8 to 41 hours). The median duration was 33 hours (range 24 to 62 hours). Three ill attendees submitted stool specimens to the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory. All three were positive for norovirus GII and negative for other pathogens tested. Foods served at the wedding reception included soup, salad, bread, butter, pollo bianco, lasagna, shrimp, spaghetti, salad, macaroni which were prepared at the restaurant. The cake was prepared at the bakery No additional illnesses were reported by other restaurant patrons outside of the wedding reception. The same day the restaurant catered a large event at a local church with 200 attendees. No illnesses were reported. No improper food preparation or handling practices were observed at the restaurant by Olmsted County Public Health Services sanitarians. Twenty one individuals who ordered a cake from the bakery from March 4 to 11 were interviewed. Five reported illnesses amongst their party guests who consumed cake. A total of two ill cake consumers met the case definition. A stool specimen collected from one ill bakery patron was positive for norovirus GII. One of four bakery employees reported recent gastrointestinal illness. The employee made the icing used on the cake at the wedding reception during the week of March 4-9. A stool sample collected from this employee was negative for norovirus. Public health investigators concluded that this was a foodborne outbreak of norovirus associated with food served at a wedding reception. Cake made by a bakery and served at the reception was the most likely vehicle. Evidence to support this conclusion included the collection of norovirus-positive specimens and illness reports among both wedding guests and bakery patrons. There were no illnesses reported by other restaurant patrons. The likely source was a recently ill food worker who prepared the icing for the cake.

  • Outbreak began:
  • March 2013
  • Affected Country:
  • US
  • Affected States/Territories:
  • Minnesota
  • Organism(s):
  • Norovirus
  • Vehicle(s):
  • Cake
  • Molecular Results Available:
  • Yes
  • Test Results:
  • Genogroup II
  • Location(s):
  • Bakery
  • Brand Name(s):
  • Product Subject to Recall:
  • No
  • Total ill:
  • 23
  • Number ill by Case Definition Known:
  • Yes
  • Number Laboratory Confirmed Cases:
  • 4
  • Number Probable Cases:
  • 19
  • Number Possible Cases:
  • 0
  • Anyone Hospitalized:
  • No
  • Number Hospitalized:
  • 0
  • Any Deaths:
  • No
  • Number Dead:
  • 0
  • Any References:
  • No

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