Susan J. Demas of the Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI) reports that a “flu-like” illness felled about 40 employees at a Jackson County business last week, health officials say.
About 150 people at the company — whose name is not being released — were exposed to the gastrointestinal outbreak, which is marked by nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea.
Health officials didn’t offer details on the circumstances of the outbreak. No one was hospitalized.
“It’s a large number, but it’s a localized incident — not countywide,” said Mary Ricciardello, Jackson County Health Department clinical services manager.
The department “isn’t ruling out” food poisoning such as the Norovirus, which in January struck more than 400 patrons of Carrabba’s Italian Grill, a Lansing-area eatery. The sickness, also known as Norwalk virus, can be caused by contaminated food or water and spread by close contact.
The intestinal illness also hit dozens of Lumen Christi High School football players in 2002.
Since the business’ human resources department reported the outbreak to the health department Friday, county medical workers have taken about 40 stool samples.
Test results on viral and bacterial illnesses will be back Thursday or Friday, Ricciardello said.
Symptoms typically lasted 24 to 48 hours, she said. Most employees are back on the job.
“The biggest threat now is secondary infection within the household — not throughout the community,” the health official said today.