Michigan health officials confirm ‘Tough Mudder’ outbreak caused by norovirus
In a follow-up to a story Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Bureau of Laboratories confirmed that the gastrointestinal outbreak involving both participants and spectators of the 2013 Michigan Tough Mudder Event at the Michigan International Speedway last weekend was caused by norovirus.
The MDCH was notified of the outbreak by the Lenawee County Health Department (LCHD) during the first week in July. Since the obstacle course event last weekend, health authorities received more than 200 reports of gastrointestinal symptoms from participants and attendees.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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.
Anyone can be infected with norovirus and get sick. Also, you can have norovirus illness many times in your life. Norovirus illness can be serious, especially for young children and older adults.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States.
Although norovirus goes by many nicknames, “food poisoning” or “stomach flu” for example, Norovirus illness is not related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
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The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness.