Contaminated food caused norovirus outbreak in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Farmer
WI Department of Health Services

CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI (AP) — Heath officials say contamination food caused the norovirus outbreak that sickened dozens of people attending a festival last month at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.

Multiple stool samples collected from people who became sick after the Special Kids Day event indicated that the illness was caused by food and wasn't passed through physical contact, Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Jennifer Miller told the Leader-Telegram.

However, the specific food source that was contaminated hasn't been determined and remains under investigation, Miller said.

"Nothing has been pinpointed yet," she said.

At least 60 people got sick at the event. Symptoms of the sickness include vomiting, diarrhea, low-grade fever and fatigue. People have generally recovered within a few days.

Event organizer Tom Leuck created the annual springtime event 19 years ago for children with disabilities. The event includes games, food and music. Leuck sells food at stands across the state to raise money for the two-day festival, which attracted about 1,000 people from 25 school districts this year.

He said all food handlers at this year's event were wearing gloves.