Lab Results Confirm Norovirus in Forest Grove Outbreak

For Immediate Release Friday, March 22, 2013

Sponsored by: Health & Human Services Department

Lab results have confirmed what Washington County health officials suspected: norovirus sickened at least 15 people at a Forest Grove meeting on Friday, March 15.

Fresh fruit is the suspected source and was likely contaminated during preparation or at the event. Health investigators are still working to determine how the fruit became tainted. The owner of Maggie's Buns, which catered the meeting, is cooperating fully with the investigation.

Kevin Weeks, a 43-year-old McMinnville man, was one of the attendees to become ill. He died unexpectedly on March 19. Initial medical examiner results did not identify an obvious cause of death, but State Medical Examiner Cliff Nelson states, "It is safe to say that Mr. Weeks did not die from norovirus." Further lab results are pending and could take weeks.

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes vomiting, diarrhea and a feeling of unusual tiredness. Healthy people usually get better in a day or two, but the frail elderly and young children can get dangerously sick.

Norovirus spreads easily, often by touching contaminated surfaces or eating contaminated foods. The best way to prevent the spread of norovirus is to practice proper handwashing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.

Contact:

Wendy Gordon, PIO
503-846-3634
wendy_gordon@co.washington.or.us