Norovirus suspected after 75 Totino Grace banquet-goers fall ill

  • Article by: JIM ADAMS and PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 12, 2013 - 8:08 PM

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a foodborne illness that sickened at least 75 people who ate at a banquet for Totino Grace football players Sunday in Brooklyn Park.

The banquet was attended by 273 people at the Edinburgh USA Golf Course clubhouse restaurant. Jeff Ferguson, football coach at the private Roman Catholic school in Fridley, said at least 41 adults and 34 students fell ill. “I think it was food poisoning. They got sick over a period of two days,” he said.

State health officials suspect that the illnesses were caused by norovirus because of the victims’ symptoms, which included vomiting and diarrhea, Health Department spokesman Doug Schultz said Thursday.

“We are pretty confident the outbreak is norovirus,” he said. The gastrointestinal illness usually lasts a few days. No hospitalizations were reported.

“We are entering the peak season for norovirus in Minnesota, so it is important that everyone wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before handling food. Stay home if you are ill,” Schultz advised.

The Health Department is working with local officials to pinpoint the exact cause, a process that could take days or weeks, Schultz said.

The restaurant’s food service was provided by Lancer Hospitality.

JIM ADAMS AND PAUL LEVY

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