The Minnesota Health Department Tuesday confirmed that the culprit of food-borne outbreak of illness that hit at least 66 people who attended a Little Falls wedding party at the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls in November was a norovirus.
The norovirus, according to Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz, is fecal in origin and is generally transmitted by human hands. He said the evidence points toward the gravy as the source but the department's study did not determine how the norovirus got into the gravy.
He said the department interviewed 128 of the 270 people who attended the wedding party. Schultz said the Little Falls incident was one of the bigger outbreaks his department has studied.
Francie Peterson, co-owner with her husband, Tom, said today the Department of Health can't nail down how the norovirus contaminated the gravy.
"It's over," she said. "People got sick. We would just like this whole thing to be done."
Ann March of the Morrison County Public Health Department said her department has worked with the state and has met with the Falls Ballroom operators to discuss the findings. If an establishment has a history of continued violations, then the Morrison County Public Health Department has the authority to assess penalties.
She said there are no penalties assessed against the Falls Ballroom at this time but after the outbreak the establishment will receive closer monitoring.
Guests at the wedding who contracted the norovirus exhibited symptoms that included diarrhea and vomiting.
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