The McHenry County Department of Health is reporting its investigation into the recent gastrointestinal illness outbreak linked to D.C. Cobb’s, 1204 N. Green Street in McHenry, is closed.  

The outbreak investigation was launched after a cluster of illnesses was linked to the food establishment at the end of August. MCDH conducted a case-control study that identified 173 individuals who became ill after eating food from the restaurant. Norovirus was identified as the pathogen, but the investigation could not determine exactly how it was introduced into the facility. A complete report of the investigation is available at Communicable Diseases Data and Reports under Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Reports.

“Foodborne illness investigations are a top priority to protect the public’s health. The MCDH investigation team appreciates the cooperation from the public to bring this complex investigation to a close,” said Susan Karras, MCDH’s Director of Public Health Nursing. “The final report demonstrates the dedication and high level of work the MCDH team does every day to protect the public’s health in McHenry County.”

After MCDH staff conducted an inspection and provided corrective action, D.C. Cobb’s employees and management responded quickly, dramatically reducing the transmission of illness associated with the outbreak.

“The management of D.C. Cobb’s fully cooperated with the illness investigation team and continues to work with Division of Environmental Health staff to implement additional strategies to prevent future public health concerns,” said Patti Nomm, MCDH’s Director of Environmental Health.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that spreads quickly from person to person or through contaminated items, and it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain that usually last between 24 hours and 48 hours. Anyone with norovirus illness should stay home when sick and for 24 hours after experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.

Routinely cleaning and sanitizing kitchen utensils, counters and surfaces before preparing food can reduce the risk of norovirus. Good hygiene practices are equally important whether or not food is being prepared.