According to Grays Harbor County Environmental Health staff, a suspected norovirus outbreak sickened over 10 people at a wedding in Seabrook.
According to their report, they say that they received information on September 6 that guests became ill with “nausea, vomiting and diarrhea” after attending a private event on August 27 at the Seabrook Town Hall.
All guests have recovered.
They tell KXRO that the “timing and symptoms of the ill patrons suggest norovirus”.
Since the report came after the normal lifespan of norovirus within a human, it is not possible to confirm that was the cause of the illnesses. They say that the evidence they have discovered suggests a connection between those sickened and catered food at the event from Seabrook restaurant Mill 109.
The Department of Health tell KXRO that they have not received any other reports of illness related to Mill 109 and everyone who became ill were involved in the private event.
Mill 109 owner Rob Paylor spoke exclusively to KXRO and said, that the wedding featured approximately 110 people, and only after the event did they learn that some guests became sick.
Paylor said that an employee of Mill 109 had taken time off for being sick in mid August, and is believed to have returned to work while still contagious.
“Mill 109 deeply regrets the incident and is taking all necessary action to eliminate the possibility of something like this ever happening again. To that end, we are working collaboratively with the Grays Harbor County Division of Environmental Health to ensure we are in full compliance with all of their guidelines and procedures – completely sanitizing restaurant surface areas and equipment, disposing of all food at risk of contamination, and retraining staff to ensure all food is cooked and handled according to public-health regulations. The Town Hall has also been fully sanitized.”
According to the Washington State Department of Health, Norovirus is highly contagious, and people are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks after they have recovered.
An inspection on Mill 109 was done this week as part of their “illness outbreak” investigation.
Mill 109 voluntary closed during the investigation and “immediately began taking the necessary steps to control any additional transmission of Norovirus.”
The health department tells KXRO that “Mill 109 has been fully cooperating” and a follow-up inspection on September 9th found that Norovirus control measures were “sufficiently followed”, including destruction of all possible contaminated food along with deep cleaning and sanitization of the facility.
Mill 109 is fully operational and open for business, and staff catered a private event at Seabrook Town Hall on Friday night.
(From Washington State Department of Health)
What is norovirus?
- Norovirus is a virus that causes illness of the same name. Norovirus illness is commonly called other names such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
- Norovirus infection causes acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).
- The most common symptoms are watery diarrhea, explosive projectile vomiting (that shoots out), and stomach pain.
- Anyone can get norovirus, and can have the illness multiple times in their lifetime.
- The sources of norovirus are people (specifically, the feces and vomit of infected individuals), as well as raw or undercooked shellfish.
How serious is a norovirus illness?
- People with norovirus can feel extremely ill and experience vomiting or diarrhea many times a day.
- Most people get better within 1 to 2 days.
- Dehydration can be a problem among some people, especially the very young, the elderly, and people with other illnesses.
How contagious is norovirus?
- Norovirus illness is highly contagious. As few as 10 viral particles can cause infection; the average stool or vomit volume can contain over 100 million particles.
- People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks after they have recovered.
- Norovirus can survive in the environment for long periods of time. It can survive freezing conditions and heat exposure up to 140°F.
- Norovirus can spread rapidly in closed environments like dormitories, daycare centers, prisons, cruise ships, and nursing homes.
How is norovirus spread?
- The virus is spread by contaminated individuals touching items or handling food, or through vomit or feces of infected individuals.
- The illness is spread when people:
- Eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
- Touch surfaces or objects that are contaminated with norovirus, and then place their hand in their mouth.
- Have direct contact with an infected person — such as caring for or sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils with an infected person.
How can I prevent the spread of norovirus?
- Practice proper hand hygiene:
- Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and always before eating or preparing food.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers (containing at least 62% ethanol) may be a helpful addition to hand washing, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water. See “Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives.”
- Take care in the kitchen.
- Carefully wash fruits and vegetables.
- Cook oysters and other shellfishthoroughly before eating them.
- Don’t prepare food while infected. People who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.
- Wash laundry thoroughly.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter.
- Handle soiled items carefully, without agitating them, to avoid spreading virus.
- Wash items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, especially after an episode of vomiting or diarrhea, with a solution of bleach and water. Some recommended strengths are:
- 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water for stainless steel, food/mouth contact items, and toys.
- 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water for non-porous surfaces such as tile floors, counter-tops, sinks, and toilets.
- 1½ cups of bleach per gallon of water for pourous surfaces such as wooden floors.
Is there specific treatment or vaccine for norovirus?
- There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection, although this is an area of active research.
- There is no specific drug to treat people with norovirus illness.
- Rehydration is important for infected people — they must drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost through vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, fluids may need to be given intravenously.