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Norovirus Outbreak Traced to Chapel Hill Restaurant

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A restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C. has been linked to an outbreak of the norovirus. Since May 7th, health officials say 41 people have reported getting sick after eating at the Nantucket Grill or attending an event catered by the restaurant. An investigation has yet to determine the source of the outbreak.

The restaurant also has locations in Durham and Raleigh, but the outbreak has only been linked to the Chapel Hill location.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) norovirus is extremely contagious and can be caught from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes the stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed (acute gastroenteritis).

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general feeling of lethargy. The virus comes on suddenly, with symptoms lasting for one to two days. Children’s symptoms are usually more severe than adults’.

There are no specific drugs to treat people with norovirus. Antibiotics are not effective because the infection is caused by a virus and not bacteria. One of the main concerns with the virus is dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the U.S. Annually, there are approximately 21 million cases. Almost 70,000 people need to be hospitalized. The virus is the second leading cause of gastroenteritis associated deaths and claims 800 lives each year. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks nationally.

Nantucket Hill Restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C.


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