The investigation into a norovirus outbreak in the Ilirska Bistrica area in south-western Slovenia reveals that food, eg meat, was not the source of the transmission, instead, it is being linked to contact transmission via packaging, according to government health authorities.
The outbreak was detected in the area around Ilirska Bistrica between 25 and 30 December 2021, as 123 persons fell ill with symptoms of acute gastroenteritis. Norovirus was isolated in nine samples.
At first, it was suspected that the cause of the outbreak could be meat from a local butcher shop, so the authorities carried out thorough health and sanitary inspections, and examined samples of meat, which turned out to be of unimpaired quality.
“This suggests that the infections were not caused by food, but rather by contact transmission, probably via packaging that came into contact with work surfaces, especially those touched by customers,” the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) said.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that frequently spreads person-to-person and is often associated with food. Norovirus illness often has a sudden onset of nausea and vomiting and/or watery diarrhea with cramps. A low-grade fever, chills, and body aches sometimes occur. Norovirus rarely causes severe complications. Dehydration is the most common complication, particularly among young children and the elderly. No vaccine is available for norovirus.
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