Norovirus Suspected in Waukesha Outbreak
Investigators search for cause of illness outbreak at Country Springs Hotel. Video by tmj4.comvideo
WAUKESHA - Health officials suspect Norovirus may have sickened people at a luncheon at the Country Springs Hotel on Tuesday.
According to the Waukesha County Health Department, fifty people have officially reported cases of stomach-flu-like-illness after attending the "Women of Distinction" lunch at the hotel. However, some of the patients suspect the actual number of cases is much higher because the luncheon was sold-out.
"It was horrible. It was really bad," said outbreak victim Jenny Thompson. "Everybody at our table got it," she said.
The luncheon is a well-known event in Waukesha County and several prominent guests were among the outbreak victims including District Attorney Brad Schimel and Prohealth Care CEO Ford Titus.
"Norovirus is one of the possibilities of things that we’re looking at," said county spokeswoman Julianne Klimetz. "Some of the signs and symptoms are similar to that of Norovirus. However, we’re not ruling out anything at this point," she said.
Norovirus can be highly contagious and difficult to get rid of.
Klimetz confirmed health investigators had ruled that e-coli bacteria from recalled lettuce was not part of this case.
The Country Springs Hotel hired an outside company to sanitize the hotel's kitchen, according to hotel management.
"We totally sanitized the kitchen as an extra precautionary measure, similar to how a cruise ship does," said general manager Nancy Richards. "The health department came back in this morning."
The Country Springs Hotel will operate as normal this weekend, Richards said. Laboratory test results that pinpoint the cause of the outbreak should be known sometime next week.