ServSafe MN News: According to a report on MPR Radio an outbreak of the Norovirus caused Minnehaha Academy to close its doors for several days after dozens of students and faculty members fell victim to the illness. With such a large outbreak, the facility felt it necessary shut its doors in order to prevent further spread of the virus and ensure the safety of its students.
Cleaning Up After a Norovirus Event
The Norovirus is one of the most contagious food-borne illnesses. We recently covered this topic in a previous article, but, just to review, some of the Norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. While rarely life threatening, we cannot ignore the severity of any Norovirus outbreak.
In cases such as the one which occurred at Minnehaha recently, a major outbreak requires major cleanup. The Norovirus spreads from unwashed hands, saliva and contact with other bodily fluids that have been infected. It can live on utensils, hard surfaces and contaminated food for an extended period of time. That means that after an outbreak nearly anything can be affected.
If your facility experiences outbreak of the Norovirus, we urge you to take the following steps:
- Clean and sanitize all food preparation surfaces
- Dispose of potentially contaminated food product
- Wash and sanitize all utensils and serving wear
- Work with your local health department to facilitate cleanup
Remember, that the best way to prevent an outbreak of any type of food-borne illness is diligence. Remind your staff not to work while sick, and if they have had Norovirus symptoms to refrain from working for several days after symptoms have disappeared. The Norovirus can still be active after a victim has appeared to have recovered. Use good sense and sanitize preparation surfaces frequently, and review proper hand washing procedures with your team.
If you would like to schedule a ServSafe MN review of how to prevent food-borne illness, we can help with both instructor led and online courses tailored to your specific facility.