Norovirus Spreading In NC

Feb 1, 2012

The North Carolina Health Department is warning of widespread norovirus outbreaks and urging people to wash their hands more thoroughly. Norovirus is easily transmitted by touch and is hard to eradicate. It typically causes vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Outbreaks this winter have been reported in Alamance, Cabarrus, Catawba, Mecklenburg, Orange, Pitt, Stokes, and Wake Counties - primarily in assisted living facilities and daycare centers. But one instance in Catawba County has prompted health officials to undertake further study because it is associated with a restaurant, which is unusual. Catawba County Health Department Spokeswoman Kelly Schermerhorn says more than 100 illnesses were reported from the Harbor Inn Seafood diner in Conover. "We want to look at whether or not it was caused by a particular food product and really understand if it was in a particular food product, what the vehicle was," says Schermerhorn. People who ate at the Harbor Inn between January 13 and January 22 will be called randomly and asked what they ate. Schermerhorn says health officials are not concerned about any ongoing exposure at the restaurant. Mecklenburg County has reported about 40 cases of norovirus this winter - all in long-term care facilities.