Norovirus outbreak sickens 60 people at Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City

Norovirus outbreak sickens 60 people at Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City

San Mateo County health officials are investigating an outbreak of highly-contagious norovirus. According to them, norovirus caused at least 60 people to fall ill at the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) State Convention last month in Redwood City's luxury hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that spreads through contact with an infected person as well as consuming contaminated food and water. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.

The outbreak of the virus began on October 26. The people who attended a NAACP convention at Hotel Sofitel the night before started getting sick sometime after October 28 and a dozen were taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment.

More than 300 people at the hotel dined on salmon and salad. The virus also continued to spread at two further special events at the hotel.

The hotel's food operations were temporarily closed as a precaution after the illnesses was reported. The county's Environmental Health Services inspected the hotel's food, kitchen and food service areas.

However, it was found that the hotel did not violate any health protocols that would have given rise to food-borne disease, leaving the virus's origin a mystery. The hotel's facilities were reopened on Friday.

Officials have interviewed patients and taken samples so far. However, in order to find a common cause, the testing of specimens could take several weeks. The staff that has come down with the virus has been advised to stay at home until they are symptom free for 72 hours.

The Hotel Sofitel was the site of a similar outbreak in January 2008 when 62 people contracted norovirus while attending a Chamber of Commerce event, which included a chicken and salmon dinner.

At that time, health officials found several code violations, including the use of unsanitary clothes to wipe down kitchen equipment.

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