Norovirus Deemed as Cause of Michigan State University’s Kellogg Center Outbreak

 Posted on March 11, 2016 in Food Poisoning

By Timothy Tomsik

norovirus outbreak, lawsuit, Chicago personal injury attorneyNorovirus, an extremely contagious virus, is generally caused by poor hygiene and then spread through food or drink sources. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50 percent of the approximately two million cases each year are contracted through food. This and other possible factors are thought to be responsible for the recent outbreak at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Center.

Norovirus Illness

Anyone who is diagnosed with norovirus (or suspects they may have it) should be extremely careful to practice good hygiene and self-isolate whenever possible, even after the symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pains disappear. This is because, even though no symptoms may be present, norovirus continues to remain in the stool for up to two weeks, creating a risk for self-re-exposure and continued spreading of the virus before, during, and after the actual symptoms appear or disappear.

Thankfully, most people will recover with no complications within one to three days, but between 56,000 and 71,000 people are hospitalized for the norovirus illness each year. Another 570 to 800 people (mostly children and the elderly) end up dying from dehydration that is brought on by the vomiting and diarrhea.

Nearly 400 People Contracted Norovirus During Kellogg Center Outbreak

Because it can spread so quickly, and because, once it has infected even just a few people, norovirus can easily infect thousands of people through skin-to-skin contact, by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth or face with unwashed hands, or through food sources. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services suspects any of these factors (or possibly even all) are why at least 375 people attending events at the University’s Kellogg Center became ill from February 16 through the 21st.

Thankfully, the center did choose to suspend all food service operations voluntarily and then cleaned and sanitized the entire facility before reopening on February 24th. No new illnesses have occurred since, but, unfortunately for those that attended the event, the damage has already been done. To make matters worse, some may have taken the condition home, or spread it unintentionally throughout their communities, where young children and the elderly may have been exposed.

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks and the Law

People who recover with little to no complication from a foodborne illness outbreak do not typically consider pursuing damages from the facility. But if negligence has played a part in the illness (particularly for those that suffered a more serious illness that resulted in hospitalization or death), then compensation may be due. Unfortunately, these cases are extremely hard to prove alone.

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman can investigate your foodborne illness case and help determine the cause. Dedicated and experienced, they can protect your rights and build a solid defense to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions. To learn more, call 312-605-8800 to schedule your free initial consultation with a skilled Chicago personal injury attorney today.


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