Norovirus outbreak leads to reported quarantine in Durham, N.C.

It’s norovirus season. The highly contagious and often foodborne pathogen has restricted travel in and out of a North Carolina retirement residence. 80 residents and 50 staff members of the Croasdaile Village Retirement Community in Durham N.C. have been stricken with the virus leading to the local health department to reportedly set up a quarantine situation effective until Feb 28. (my guess is that it’s just a suggestion to reduce movement, not a lock-the-doors type of thing).

Croasdaile Village Retirement Community Executive Director Howard DeWitt said that staff first noticed the outbreak Thursday morning when multiple residents started exhibiting the same symptoms. None of the victims appear to have a life-threatening illness, he said.

Dewitt said that the Durham Health Department was called in and set up a quarantine, effective until Feb. 28.

Access to the community is being restricted, and the staff is trying keep residents separated, he said. Communal activities such as meals and worship have been curtailed. A 24-hour emergency command center has been set up in the administrative building.

The origin of the virus hasn’t been determined, DeWitt said.

Infected people can shed large amounts of norovirus in their vomit and poop; shedding can sometimes occur for 3 weeks after symptoms have resolved.

The majority of reported norovirus outbreaks are associated with food service settings or events and the virus can persist on common kitchen surfaces for at least 3-6 weeks.


This entry was posted in Norovirus and tagged , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.