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.
The 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.