Public health officials have discovered the source of the norovirus outbreak that already sickened over 260 people in Ohio. According to the report of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the norovirus outbreak was traced back to a suburban doughnut shop in Maumee, Ohio.

The source of outbreak

Owners of the Mama C’s Donuts and Coffee temporarily closed the doughnut shop after being notified of the outbreak. The health department investigated the possible source of the virus. Health officials believe that the epidemic was most likely to foodborne rather than an environmental issue.

The only question now is where the virus came from.

Local hospitals notified the health department when some people are being admitted after eating at the doughnut shop. Three of the sample collected from Mama C’s Donuts and Coffee tested positive for norovirus. The doughnut shop will remain closed and can only resume its operation once the health department cleared its cleanliness and other conditions. Mama C’s already hired professional cleaners to clean its premises.

Highly contagious virus

Norovirus can be very contagious. It can be transmitted through contaminated food and water, touching contaminated surface or close contact with affected person. An affected person could still spread the virus even two weeks after the symptoms go away.

The virus can cause inflammation in the stomach and intestines, causing stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms typically present itself 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and may last for one to two days. Norovirus can be fatal to some people, especially children, the elderly and those with compromised immune system.

People who dined or consumed something from Mama C’s Donut and Coffee from August 4 to August 7 and developed symptoms akin to norovirus are advised to call the health department at 419-213-4264 or 419-213-4161.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate an average of 19 to 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis caused by norovirus every year.

Additionally, about 1.7 to 1.9 million outpatient visits and 400,000 emergency department visits were attributed to the virus. Norovirus also contributes to about 56,000–71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths, mostly among young children and the elderly

The best ways to prevent outbreaks of norovirus are proper hand washing and food handling.