A foodborne outbreak of norwalk virus gastroenteritis evidence for post-recovery transmission

Karen E. White, Michael T. Osterholm, Joseph A. Mariotti, Jack A. Korlath, Don H. Lawrence, Terry L. Ristinen, Harry B. Greenberg

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69 Scopus citations


From November 10-16, 1982, 220 (57%) of 383 attendees at eight banquets for which food had been prepared at a single hotel restaurant and the employees of the hotel had onset of Norwalk virus gastroenteritis. Epidemiologic investigation of the three largest banquets confirmed consumption of potato and fruit salads (banquet A), coleslaw (banquet B), and tossed salad (banquet C) to be significantly associated with illness. Between November 8-19, similar illness occurred in seven (54%) of 13 hotel kitchen employees. The foods implicated in banquets A and B were prepared by one salad worker during her acute illness and up to 48 hours following her recovery. A second salad worker prepared the implicated tossed salad for banquet C 24 hours following her recovery. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first foodbome outbreak investigation demonstrating Norwalk viral excretion and transmission by a food handler after recovery from illness and either person-to-person or vehicle-borne transmission betweell food handlers with subsequent transmission by more than one food handier to patrons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1986


  • Food poisoning
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Norwalk agent


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