(DES MOINES) An alarming number of outbreaks of stomach illness across the state should be a reminder to Iowans participating in gatherings where food is served. With more than a week remaining for holiday and year-end celebrations, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is asking sick Iowans to think twice before preparing food for others.
In the last 10 days, IDPH has been investigating reports of eight medium to large outbreaks of probable norovirus in five counties. Norovirus is a common cause of viral gastroenteritis (also called "the stomach bug") and most of these outbreaks are associated with sick people preparing food for others.
Three groups got ill after eating at a restaurant where several food handlers had also been ill. Outbreaks were also associated with events like holiday parties and holiday potlucks, where foods were likely prepared and served by recently ill people.
“We’re also getting lots anecdotal reports of probable norovirus outbreaks in other areas of the state,” Quinlisk added. “This virus can be a real holiday spoiler, making your friends and loved ones sick for several days. So, if you are or have been sick, you’ll just have to wait for the next opportunity to make your signature fudge-you’re off kitchen duty until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped!”