Officials to keep an eye on outbreak of novovirus

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    More than 100 cases of norovirus connected to a Mama C’s Donuts in Maumee prompted the restaurant to temporarily close for cleaning.

    The Blade


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    Zgodzinski

    THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY


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    The novovirus outbreak was traced to food eaten at Mama C’s Donuts in Maumee.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT


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Lucas County health officials expect the number of new norovirus cases tied to a Maumee doughnut shop to slow down, but they are keeping a close eye on an outbreak that sickened 266 in Lucas County as of Thursday evening.

Toledo-Lucas County Health Department officials began investigating this week after a spate of people developed the gastrointestinal illness. All had similar symptoms and had eaten food from Mama C’s Donuts between Friday and Tuesday, health department officials said.

RELATED: 266 norovirus cases linked to Maumee doughnut shopBlade reporter felled by fritter

“The issue comes back to when the product stopped being sold and consumed. We’re expecting that to be probably Tuesday,” Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said during a Thursday news conference. “I wouldn’t think we would see a ton more cases, but if we do, then we’ll have to see what’s going on at that point in time.”

Symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, fever, and body aches.

Then the concern switches to secondary cases, when the virus spreads to those who didn’t eat the food. Mr. Zgodzinski said he doesn’t know of any identified secondary cases, but the health department continues to monitor the situation.

The restaurant hired a professional cleaning company that will use a disinfectant for norovirus, Mr. Zgodzinski said. Cleaning should be complete some time Friday. The restaurant has been closed since Tuesday.

VIDEO: Eric Zgodzinski discusses norovirus cases in Maumee

“They’ve done what they’re supposed to do. They worked with us,” he said of Mama C’s.

Health department officials returned to the restaurant Thursday to continue investigating.

Mr. Zgodzinski said the department put out a statewide alert so other health departments are aware of the situation.

Alex Aspacher, spokesman for the Wood County Health District, said officials think a dozen norovirus cases there are connected to Mama C’s products provided to businesses in Wood County.

The doughnuts were sold in two Wood County locations — Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green and a Marathon gas station at 25570 N. Dixie Highway, Perrysburg. Health investigators have been in contact with both businesses, Mr. Aspacher said.

The Ohio Department of Health is providing the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department with assistance as needed, state health department spokesman Cassie Balasubramanian said, including testing submitted samples.

Last year in Ohio, there were 76 norovirus outbreaks which sickened at least 318 people, according to the state health department.

Health care providers in Ohio are not required to report individual cases of norovirus to public health agencies, but are required to report outbreaks of two or more cases.

As the investigation continues, Mr. Zgodzinski reiterated a message of prevention to the public.

“Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” he said. “After you go the the bathroom, before you eat food, before you prep food … and keep healthy.”

Anyone who has additional questions is urged to call the health department at 419-213-4264.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154 or on Twitter @lelindstrom.




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