U.S – Approximately 100 individuals have fallen ill in a norovirus outbreak linked to a restaurant in California, according to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.

The outbreak, which occurred earlier this month, has resulted in 97 confirmed cases, as stated by Jessie Burmester, an epidemiologist from the health department, in an interview with KSBY news.

Although the restaurant’s name was not disclosed, investigations consistently point to the same establishment.

Identifying a common source or exposure point is the primary objective of the ongoing investigations, explained Burmester.

Thus far, all affected individuals have consistently provided the name of the restaurant when reporting their illness.

On May 15, the Public Health Department officially declared an outbreak after receiving multiple reports linked to the same exposure source. Subsequent investigations revealed that some individuals started experiencing symptoms as early as May 11.

To prevent further spread of the norovirus, the Public Health Department took immediate action. The restaurant was required to implement thorough cleaning and disinfection measures, and an investigation was launched to determine the source of the illnesses, according to Burmester.

Providing insight into the prevalence of norovirus outbreaks in California, Burmester stated, “In California alone, we witness around 2,500 norovirus outbreaks every year.”

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department urges individuals who suspect they may have contracted norovirus to seek medical attention and report their illness to local public health departments.

They also emphasize the importance of taking necessary precautions, especially in food preparation and consumption settings, to minimize the risk of infection.

Symptoms of norovirus infection, as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include severe vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, fever, and headache. These symptoms typically manifest within 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can last for one to three days.

While most people recover without treatment, some may require medical attention for dehydration.

Norovirus is highly contagious, and infected individuals can easily transmit the virus to others. It can persist on surfaces for extended periods, and airborne droplets resulting from vomiting can also spread the virus and contaminate surrounding areas.

To prevent further transmission, it is crucial to thoroughly wash hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or caring for potentially infected individuals.

Cleaning toilets and other soiled areas with soap and water is recommended, while hot water and detergent should be used to wash soiled clothing and bedding. Steam cleaning is suitable for soft surfaces that cannot be laundered.

Consumers might however soon be able to gain protection from norovirus thanks to researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSM St. Louis) who are developing a vaccine against it.

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