Marathon County, state probing food-linked illness in Rothschild

Wausau Daily Herald • July 25, 2008

 

Source of Article:  http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080725/WDH0101/80725073/1981

ROTHSCHILD — The Marathon County Health Department is investigating a possible outbreak of food-borne illness after several people at a wedding in Rothschild became ill.

At least 40 people became suddenly ill Saturday with “violent diarrhea that was fairly short-lived,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Marathon County’s health officer. Some became ill that night and recovered by the next afternoon.

County Health Department staff members interviewed 60 people, including 20 who did not become ill, to see if they could determine the source, Willems Van Dijk said.

It was unclear exactly how many became ill, because the county Health Department interviewed only the number of people it needed to try to pinpoint the possible source of infection and the organism involved.

The wedding took place at Stoney Creek Inn, but it was catered by a company outside Marathon County that is inspected by state health officials, Willems Van Dijk said. People should not be concerned about holding events at the hotel, she said.

The county Health Department is awaiting results of testing on samples of leftover food and stools from those who became ill, Willems Van Dijk said.

Test results identifying the cause of the illness could be back today or early next week, she said. Given how quickly people began experiencing symptoms and how quickly they resolved, county health officials do not suspect norovirus, a common cause of food-borne illness that usually develops within 24 to 48 hours of exposure. While all food-borne illnesses can be serious, especially for the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems, the organism involved in these cases appears to cause less severe illness than norovirus typically triggers, Willems Van Dijk said.

 

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