In a follow up to a earlier report, the Nashville Metro Public Health Department has been working closely with the Opryland Hotel and the Tennessee Department of Health over the past week to investigate cases of Norovirus at the hotel, while also focusing on the necessary steps to end the outbreak.
Opryland Hotel officials have followed all recommended steps to clean and sanitize the facilities and to prevent the spread of the illness. Metro Public Health officials have been monitoring reports of illness at the hotel for more than a week and have determined based on those results that there is not a continuing threat of illness related to the recent outbreak.
Health officials have completed a large number of interviews and investigated events related to the illness. Information obtained by Health Department staff during these interviews over the past few days among visitors of the hotel that were ill and those not ill indicates the likelihood that the illness was passed person to person with no evidence that food service was a source of infection.
Norovirus is very easily spread person to person which may make it difficult to pinpoint an exact source for each person’s illness. Norovirus is also common this time of year, and some episodes of illness at the hotel have been related to exposures before arriving at the hotel. Symptoms of the illness included nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. An Opryland representative contacted the Health Department on January 15 to report a recent increase in gastrointestinal illness at the hotel.
Stool specimens obtained from five people who were ill were tested at the Tennessee Department of Health’s lab and confirmed to be Norovirus. No additional stool testing is necessary for the investigation.
The CDC reports that typical hand sanitizers are ineffective against Norovirus. Therefore, it is important for everyone to thoroughly wash hands as often as possible with soap and warm water, especially before and after eating and after using the restroom.