North Carolina

NC charity event takes stomach-churning turn thanks to this party crasher: Norovirus

About 60 people got sick after a charity event in Manteo, North Carolina. Now, health officials are saying norovirus was likely the culprit.

An estimated 250 people attended the event. Out of the 60 that got sick, one “had to seek treatment at the Outer Banks Hospital” and another “received treatment at OBX Urgent Care,” a press release from the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services says. A GI tract sample did not reveal any specific food-borne bacteria.

An investigation by the Environmental Health Unit found the caterer and all catering staff were in compliance with regulations and that all food and water served were from an approved source, the department said.

The investigation is still inconclusive but officials have determined that a gastrointestinal virus, such as norovirus, was likely to cause.

The most common symptoms of norovirus are vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea and nausea. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after a person is exposed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreaks are common and the virus spreads quickly and easily, the CDC said.

Josh Coltrain, Environmental Health Supervisor for the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services, said it’s suspected that a person who had norovirus — but didn’t show any symptoms — is responsible for spreading the stomach bug, OBX Today reported.

“Viruses such as these are highly contagious and can spread through causal contact such as handshakes, touching contaminated door knobs, touching items at self-serve beverage station, etc,” Coltrain said.