It was the waitress; 23 sick with Norovirus at Minn. Lion’s Club

A recently ill waitress was the likely source that caused about two dozen people to get sick after eating at a Nisswa Lion’s Club meeting, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found.

brainerdThe March 24 Lion’s club meeting was held at the Nisswa Community Center, but was catered by Red, White and Blue Catering, which operates from the Nisswa American Legion.

An investigation by MDH showed that 23 people became ill with vomiting and diarrhea after the dinner meeting.

The symptoms of the illness lasted between seven to 115 hours for those affected, the department of health found. Other symptoms included cramps, fever and bloody stools.

Two people sought medical attention at a clinic and one was seen at an emergency room. No one was hospitalized.

Dan Bridge, owner of Red, White and Blue Catering, the waitress’ employer, said the incident is the first in the three decades he’s been operating the business.

“We try to do all we can to keep it from happening,” he said. “And it never does, except for this. It’s unfortunate. It just happened.”

Disappointed by the incident, Bridge says something like this “takes fun out of cooking.”

In MDH’s investigation, health officials determined that 23 people were sick, not the original six that first reported symptoms.

At the Lion’s club meeting, 35 people ate the buffet-style meal, which included pork chops, lettuce salad, potato salad, calico beans, rolls, butter and brownies.

But “no food item was significantly associated with illness,” the MDH said.

The waitress reported being sick with vomiting and diarrhea on March 19 and recovered on March 20.

She returned to work on March 21, where she plated salads and specials for the restaurant. On March 24, she prepared the salad for the Lion’s Club event.

The waitress tested positive for norovirus GII, the MHD said.

Did the salads at Minnesota church fundraiser spread the norovirus sickening 35?

The Brainerd Dispatch reports that vegetables and baby mixed greens, served at a fundraising event April 25 at a Baxter church, are believed to be linked to a norovirus outbreak that sickened about 35 people.

Doug Schultz, a Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson said laboratory tests confirmed that the norovirus was involved in the outbreak at a New Pathways Inc. fundraiser at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter. About 275 people attended the banquet, which was catered by Prairie Bay Restaurant in Baxter. Investigators interviewed about 60 people who attended the banquet and found 35 people who said they became ill.

Schultz said the source of the contamination could not be confirmed. However, state health investigators determined through statistical analysis that the consumption of seasonal vegetables and baby mixed greens served in a salad were associated with the illness.

Minn. investigating foodborne outbreak at fundraiser

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a report that people got sick from eating the food at a fundraiser held at a church.

The banquet took place Sunday at the Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter, Minn. The problem was reported Thursday.

The event was a benefit for New Pathways of Brainerd, a group that helps homeless families with children find safe transitional shelter.

The fundraiser was catered by Baxter’s Prairie Bay Restaurant, according to the MDH.

Investigators believe about 275 people were at the event, but it isn’t yet clear how many were exposed or how many became ill. Early signs point to a norovirus as a cause, but that has not been confirmed.