Norovirus Outbreak Sickens Dozens at Upscale San Francisco Hotel

Norovirus Outbreak Sickens Dozens at Upscale San Francisco Hotel

California health authorities identified a norovirus outbreak as being the source of a gastrointestinal illness that was responsible for infecting at least 60 people at the Sofitel Hotel in San Francisco between late October and November, and sending at least 12 people to the hospital as a result. 

It is not clear whether any of those individuals were hospitalized as a result of their illness.

The outbreak reportedly took place during an NAACP conference and two other conferences at the hotel, according to Reuters. 

A San Matea County Spokesperson said specimens were collected and tested from all three events at the hotel.

Health officials said that the hotel had shut down its food service last week in response to the outbreak, but that the service was resumed following an initial onsite inspection of the food operations which found that there were no violations linked to food-borne illness.

“We’re making sure that…every possible attention to hygiene is taken care of,” hotel spokeswoman Sandra Duhamel told Reuters. 

The San Matea County Health System reports Norovirus as the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis–or the stomach flu–in the United States, with up to 12 million illnesses, 71,000 hospitalizations, and 800 deaths annually. Symptoms of the infectious virus include severe vomiting and diarrhea. 

In 2012, a study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases revealed that the source of “a nasty outbreak of norovirus infections in a group of soccer players” was reusable grocery bags

In September of this year, Governor Jerry Brown signed the historic SB 270 into law, prohibiting grocery stores throughout California from providing single-use plastic bags. 

Photo: File

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