Every year, norovirus causes more than 20 million food poisoning illnesses in the United States. Outbreaks often occur when sick restaurant employees do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, spreading the virus to hundreds of others.
Do I Have a Norovirus Food Poisoning Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has been injured by Norovirus food poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Norovirus Food Poisoning lawsuit
Chipotle Norovirus Outbreak Sickens 135 People
July 2017 — A sick employee at a Chipotle in Sterling, Virginia has been blamed on an outbreak of Norovirus food poisoning that infected at least 135 people between July 13 and July 16, 2017. No illnesses have been reported since the restaurant re-opened on July 19. Click here to read more.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal disease. It thrives in the gastrointestinal tract of humans, and it is present in the diarrhea and vomit of someone who is sick. Norovirus is transmitted when a healthy person ingests infected stool or vomit. Norovirus is responsible for more than 20 million cases of gastrointestinal disease every year.
There is currently no vaccine against norovirus. There is also no cure for the disease — antibiotics are ineffective against a virus, and treatment involves alleviating symptoms and preventing dehydration. A person cannot develop immunity from norovirus infection, and they can be infected many times.
How Does Norovirus Spread?
Transmission of the norovirus occurs when a healthy person eats a sick person’s vomit or stools that contain the norovirus. This often occurs in the following ways:
- When a sick person prepares food, or fails to wash their hands
- When a sick person touches a common surface, and then a healthy person touches the surface and then touches their face, eyes, or mouth
- When a healthy person cares for a sick person and accidentally ingests vomit or diarrhea (usually by not washing their hands)
- When a person eats food that has been contaminated by water containing human sewage
What Causes Outbreaks of Norovirus?
Outbreaks of norovirus poisoning are common in areas where many people are in close quarters. Cruise ships, schools, day cares, nursing homes, and youth camps are all common places where norovirus outbreaks occur.
Certain types of foods are also common sources of norovirus outbreaks. Shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, and scallops) can be contaminated when they grow in water that has been contaminated with human sewage. Green, leafy vegetables and fruits can also be easily contaminated, which is why it is important to wash these foods before eating them. Norovirus can be spread by eating foods that are raw, undercooked, or touched after they are cooked.
Symptoms of Norovirus
Infection with norovirus can cause a gastrointestinal illness called gastroenteritis, which causes the stomach and intestines to become inflamed. This causes symptoms of stomach flu, nausea, and vomiting, which typically last for 1-3 days in a healthy person. The symptoms of norovirus gastroenteritis include:
- Diarrhea, which may be watery or bloody in severe cases
- Nausea, vomiting
- Stomach pain, abdominal cramps
- Body aches
Complications of Norovirus
One potential complication is dehydration. This can be life-threatening for vulnerable people, such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly, or people who have a weak immune system (such as those undergoing cancer therapy). Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, decreased urination, dry mouth, and dry throat. Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent dehydration. Hospitalization may be required if dehydration becomes severe.
Norovirus Outbreaks on Cruise Ships
April 2015 — Over 200 people aboard two cruise ships docked in San Diego, California have likely been infected with Norovirus, a highly-contagious virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Click here to read more.
November 2014 — An outbreak of norovirus has sickened at least 172 passengers and crew members aboard a Crown Princess cruise ship from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Tahiti and back. This is the second outbreak on this ship this year — the last one was in April. Click here to read more.
June 2014 — The CDC Vital Signs Report warns that every year, 20 million Americans are infected with norovirus. Although norovirus is typically thought of as a “cruise ship bug,” only about 1% of outbreaks occur on cruise ships. Instead, most norovirus outbreaks involve food poisoning, and food-service workers are responsible for 70% of outbreaks. Click here to read more.
April 2014 — A suspected outbreak of norovirus on a Crown Princess cruise in California has sickened at least 104 passengers and 24 crew members. Passengers were quarantined in their cabins to prevent the spread of the illness. There have been five major outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships this year, sickening over 1,000 people. The other outbreaks occurred in January and February and included: Holland America MS Veendam (124 people), the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas (634 people), a Caribbean Princess (181 people), and a Norwegian Cruise (130 people). Click here to read more.
How to Reduce the risk of Norovirus Poisoning
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides several guidelines for preventing transmission of norovirus:
- Frequent, thorough hand washing with soap and water. This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing diapers, caring for someone who is ill, before eating, and before preparing food. Hand sanitizers containing alcohol are better than nothing when hand washing is not possible, however, they are no substitute for a thorough hand washing with soap and water.
- Promptly clean contaminated surfaces. Norovirus can survive on surfaces and infect others. If vomit or diarrhea come in contact with a surface, promptly clean the surface using a commercial bleach solution, or a homemade solution of 1 gallon of water plus 5-tbsp to 1.5 cups of bleach.
- Thoroughly wash contaminated laundry. If possible, wear rubber gloves or disposable gloves. Try not to agitate the contaminated clothes, because they could spread the virus. Wash the clothes at the highest setting and wash in a commercial dryer.
- Take care when preparing or handling food. Norovirus is prevalent in shellfish, oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops that are grown in waters contaminated with human sewage. These foods should be cooked thoroughly before eating. Vegetables and fruits should also be washed and cooked thoroughly before eating. If you are sick, do not prepare food for others, and wait three days after getting better to prepare food for others.
- Try not to touch your face, eyes, or mouth.
Do I have a Norovirus Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
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