The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN is reporting that Olmsted County, MN is experiencing one of the worst norovirus seasons in its recent history. The Post-Bulletin says:
“The winter of 2008-2009 may be recorded as one of the worst Norovirus virus seasons in Olmsted County in 25 years,” the county’s Web site says.
Norovirus, contained in fecal matter, causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread from poorly washed hands that touch the mouth or when people eat contaminated food.
Larry Edmonson, director of disease prevention and control at Olmsted County Public Health, said four outbreaks happened in the last four months of 2008. Outbreaks occurred because of contaminated food at two weddings, a holiday office party and a restaurant.
“I’ve been doing public health in Olmsted County since 1981,” Edmonson said. “This is by far the worst season that I’ve run into.”
A conservative estimate is that 100 to 200 people became ill during the outbreaks, Edmonson said, “and then many, many more in the community.”
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