I just received the Final Summary Report on the 2014 Royal Hawaiian Norovirus Outbreak from the State of Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH). It was well done and to the point.
On May 17, 2014, management at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (RHH) reported illnesses linked to a wedding reception at the Azure Restaurant held on May 15th. Illnesses were reported on May 16th.
The investigation found that 114 individuals reported illnesses compatible with a confirmed (stool culture positive for Norovirus) or probable case. Illness onset ranged from May 14th to May 26th.
Ill persons identified a wide variety of food consumed at various venues. The common denominator was that the food was prepared in the kitchen at the RHH.
17 RHH employees reported illness during the outbreak period. On employee reported and episode of diarrhea on May 14th just prior to serving dinner. On May 15th another employee reported vomiting into a kitchen area trashcan.
On May 19th HDOH inspected the RHH kitchen and observed violation of sanitizing procedure and cold holding temperatures.
The HDOH conclusion was “[t]his was a confirmed outbreak of Norovirus GL3B associated with consumption of a meal prepared by the [RHH]…. Of the 114 primary ill persons identified, 17 were employees of the [RHH]…. Illness among food handling personnel and coincident environmental contamination were likely contributing factors which served to propagate the infection among hotel guests and employees.”
Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.