Norovirus intervention after outbreak linked to ill food service worker

It would have been easy to send Sorenne to school about 14 hours after she last barfed on Thursday; but I know the guidelines call for somewhere around 48 hours after the last barf (not 24, like some of the teachers tell me).

So Sorenne stayed home.

It probably helped reduce the flow of norovirus in the school. But those kinds of wins are difficult to count – no one got sick.

What’s far more common is when people do get sick. Those are easy to count.

The Minnesota Department of Health concluded an ill or recently ill food service worker or workers were the source of a norovirus outbreak that sickened between 30 and 40 people who ate at Mankato civic center events.

More than 50 people reported being sick following a Greater Mankato Growth banquet on Nov. 13 attended by more than 460 people. The health department also received reports from people who contracted the illness after attending a civic center event for veterans on Nov. 14.

The owner of the catering business, Najwa Massad, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

A health spokesperson said that, following the outbreak, Department of Health officials conducted an “intervention” with the food service provider that included reminders of protocols to follow when employees become ill.

“We reviewed procedures so that they make sure that, for example, if they have any ill food workers, or anyone who appears to be ill, they need to screen all their food services workers,” Schultz said. “With norovirus, our recommendation is that a food service worker not work for 72 hours after it’s gone.”

Schultz said anyone who has contracted norovirus should avoid preparing food for up to two weeks and wash hands regularly and thoroughly, up to three minutes.