TOLEDO (WWJ) – The number is climbing with 266 now sickened in a norovirus outbreak in the Toledo, Ohio area.
Officials with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department say that the virus was likely food-borne and has been linked to Mama C’s Donuts in Maumee, which is now closed for a deep cleaning as the investigation continues.
Symptoms of a norovirus infection can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, and sometimes a mild fever. People typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, and symptoms usually last one to two days — and it is important to note that people can spread the virus for up to two weeks after their symptoms go away.
According to health officials, norovirus is common at this time of the year and that food workers (restaurants/resorts/festival booths) experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, should refrain from working (preparing and handling food/drinks/ice) for at least three days after their symptoms go away. Anyone else experiencing symptoms consistent with norovirus should also refrain from handling food for others until 72 hours after their symptoms go away.
Although people commonly refer to norovirus illness as “stomach flu,” the illness is not the same as influenza. Influenza is primarily a respiratory illness, characterized by symptoms like high fever, body aches, sneezing, a runny nose or a sore throat. While the flu can be prevented with a vaccine, there is no vaccine for norovirus, leaving good hand washing as the primary defense.
Precautions that can help prevent the spread of noroviruses include:
- Washing your hands after going to the bathroom
- Washing your hands before handling food, beverages and ice
- Washing your hands before eating
- Excusing yourself from food preparation duties if you have diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Discarding foods that were handled or prepared by someone with diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Promptly cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces that become soiled with vomit or stool
- Staying home if you are ill
The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is expected to update the media on the outbreak on Friday. Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.