Illness outbreak strikes Dells convention

By Kay James

Source of Article:


The Sauk County Health Department is investigating an outbreak of illness at the Wilderness Resort.

Sauk County Public Health Director Cynthia Bodendein confirmed the county and state are investigating an outbreak at the Wilderness involving attendees at a state Christmas tree growers convention.

Bodendein said she is awaiting more laboratory results from samples taken from those who became ill. One sample already returned was positive for the norovirus. She said she was sure the outbreak was caused by norovirus.

"There's a fair amount (of norovirus illness) in the county. It's not just them (the Wilderness)," she said.

That virus causes acute gastroenteritis stomach flu with diarrhea, vomiting and pain. Bodendein said the virus can be passed from person to person: "It's not usually found in food."

An article about noroviruses on the Public Health Web site said, "If the infected person then handles food or drink that someone else consumes, the virus can be transmitted to others."

Bodendein said an environmental investigator sent to the Wilderness "did not find anything out of order. Actually, he found nothing." She said the resort's food handling practices were good. She also praised Wilderness employees for being "cooperative and proactive."

She said the resort has followed a cleaning protocol using bleach for the conference rooms and guest rooms. The resort has not had any further problems with people becoming sick since doing that.

Bodendein did not have the number of people stricken with illness.

No one from Wilderness returned phone calls asking for comment.



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