4 High-Risk Settings Where a Norovirus Outbreak Could Make You Sick
With the highly publicized outbreak of norovirus at a Chipotle restaurant in Boston that resulted in 120 college students becoming ill, as well as issues at a number of their other restaurants, norovirus is becoming more of a concern for consumers when they go out for dinner. Norovirus is a very contagious virus that is the leading cause of illness—often in an outbreak affecting many people—from contaminated food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year norovirus causes the following:
- 19-21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines
- Approximately 17 to 19 million outpatient doctor visits and 400,000 visits to the emergency room—often for young children
- Approximately 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 580 to 800 deaths—especially young children and the elderly
Four Settings Where You Are Most At Risk of Developing Norovirus
It only takes a few particles of the norovirus to make someone sick. Food can become contaminated in the following ways:
- People sick with norovirus have contaminated material on their hands and touch the food
- Food is placed on counters that have material infected with norovirus on them
- Contaminated material from the infected person lands on food
- Oysters and other shellfish that are contaminated are harvested
- Fruits and vegetables that are contaminated in the fields are harvested and distributed to businesses and restaurants
People risk developing norovirus from a number of sources where large quantities of food are provided. Because these are public places, many people can be infected with the norovirus particles and become ill. Common settings where outbreaks occur include:
- Restaurants and catered events. This is a common way people become infected, and sick workers are usually the source of the outbreak—often when they handle food with their bare hands.
- Cruise ships. Outbreaks on cruise ships can spread quickly and be more difficult to control because of the close living quarters, large number of people using the dining facilities, and fast turnover of guests.
- Healthcare facilities. It is no wonder that this is the most common source of norovirus outbreaks as this can spread quickly from patients, staff, visitors, or contaminated foods.
- Schools and other institutional settings. Norovirus outbreaks can spread rapidly in many institutional settings where large groups of people are in close quarters, such as schools, colleges, prisons, and military bases.
If you became sick with norovirus, you could experience diarrhea, stomach pains, and vomiting that could develop into more serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization. You could be entitled to compensation from the business or restaurant that caused the norovirus outbreak, so take action quickly so that you are within the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. I urge you to call me today at 888.716.8021 for a FREE consultation.