Health Dept: Norovirus Caused Bar-B-Q Center Illnesses

Posted by: Jim Reed     1 day ago


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Lexington, NC -- The Davidson County Health Department reported Monday that the recent outbreak of a food-borne illness at The Barbecue Center in Lexington was the result of a norovirus.

Norovirus causes a gastrointestinal illness which includes abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Norovirus is easily spread and the CDC estimates it is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Norovirus is present in the general population and is often thought of as a "stomach bug".

According to Layton Long, health director with the Davidson County Health Department, "The Barbecue Center's high sanitation record indicates the restaurant has consistently practiced good food handling techniques and procedures. Evidence from the outbreak investigation indicates the virus was most likely introduced into the restaurant by an employee who had cared for an ill family member. This employee was never ill or showed symptoms of illness. Norovirus can be spread from person-to-person and person-to-food even with normal hand washing."

Long said the restaurant worked closely with the health department to ensure customer safety.

The health department advises that anyone who may have contracted the illness should not return to work until free from symptoms for at least 48 hours. This restriction is especially important to those who prepare food or work with highly susceptible populations, such as at nursing homes, hospitals, or child care centers.

Control measures to prevent the spread of norovirus include proper handwashing:

rub hands vigorously with liquid soap and warm water for 15 seconds

wash all surfaces of the hands, to include the backs of hands, palms, wrists, under fingernails and between fingers

rinse well for ten seconds

dry hands with a paper towel or other hand-drying device

turn off faucet with a paper towel or other method without recontaminating hands

In addition, when preparing food, avoid bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Information regarding best practices to control or prevent the spread of norovirus is available on the Davidson County Health Department website. Specific guidelines for food preparation and long term care facilities are also available on the web site.

Davidson County Health Department



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