Winter vomiting sickness happens in not-so-cold weather too
Posted: January 30th, 2012 - 5:32pm by Ben Chapman
I'm currently experiencing the warmest winter I've ever had - Raleigh hasn't had a day below freezing (a few nights) and I have yet to scrape my car off in the morning. Yesterday I strapped my kids into a bike trailer and rode around on a few paved trails and tomorrow it's going to be close to 70F. I love the south. But just because it's warm doesn't mean that the state will avoid norovirus - the famed winter vomiting sickness.
In 1929 Dr. John Zahorsky wrote about a history of gastrointestinal illness events, which would become norovirus. After seeing children develop sporadic cases of vomiting, supplemented by watery diarrhea each year between November and May, through over 30 years of clinical practice, he coined the term winter vomiting sickness.
Over 125 folks in Conover NC dealt with a norovirus outbreak back in mid January. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, most illnesses were linked to eating at the Harbor Inn Seafood restaurant on January 13 and 14 - but some folks got sick after eating there as recently as January 20th.
Catawba County Public Health has been working with the N.C. Division of Public Health to figure out what's been making people sick since the first cases were reported Jan. 17.
Although Public Health has not announced what food or foods caused the illness, victims have stated that the members of their party who got sick after eating at Harbor Inn were the ones who ate tossed salad.
Neither tossed salad or an exposure period of over a week would be all that surprising - tossed salad can be prepped by someone who doesn't see themselves as a food handler - and noro, especially in cooler months, is pretty stable in the environment (and could stick around to infect for weeks).