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Recent Norovirus Outbreaks

September 19, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

More than 500 visitors to a Tennessee zipline canopy tour have reported serious gastrointestinal illnesses, with symptoms similar to those of the norovirus, according to CNN. Some of these visitors have tested positive for this virus, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, malaise, stomach pain, fever, and muscle pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms of the norovirus last up to three days, and come on between 12 and 48 hours after initial exposure.

Pennsylvania Outdoor Festivals Required to Revamp Their Sanitary Efforts

Earlier last year, 179 people self-reported gastrointestinal illnesses after participating in outdoor festivals in Pennsylvania, according to Healio Infectious Disease News. Investigators found norovirus and fecal microbes in samples from the festivals’ well, in addition to a nearby creek. They believed that a septic leach field was the cause of the contamination, and the nearly 200 cause of illness. By the fourth one of these outdoor festivals, the event organizer was required by investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to install a new well farther away from the leach field, and also to provide more portable toilets and portable hand washing stations. No norovirus outbreaks were found by the fourth festival after these safety measures had been taken.

Damages for Norovirus Victims

Most healthy people do not require hospitalization upon coming down with the norovirus or other similar gastrointestinal illness. However, if the victim is very young or old, or has a compromised immune system for any reason, they could very well require hospitalization, and the norovirus could be life threatening. Their financial damages could end up being large, with mounting hospital bills and lost wages as well, not to mention the pain and suffering that they endured.

When Can a Party be Held Responsible for a Norovirus Outbreak?

The norovirus is spread by direct contact with another person, by eating or drinking contaminated food or liquid, or by coming into contact with contaminated objects such as doorknobs. In most cases, a restaurant or other business will not be held liable for damages because the average person recovers pretty quickly from the norovirus, and filing a personal injury claim would not be worthwhile. However, if your damages were large, you have the option to sue. Business owners, such as restaurants, have a duty to keep reasonably sanitary conditions, and when they breach this duty, they can be held liable. Other establishments also have a duty to provide their patrons a safe, sanitary premises, and when they fail to do this, especially when they fail to make changes after an earlier outbreak of norovirus has already occurred, they can be sued.

Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help Today

Norovirus is the most common type of gastrointestinal illness, and it can very likely be the cause of your recent hospitalization. The key is to work with an attorney, find out where you were exposed, and then hold the business owner responsible for their negligence. The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at the offices of van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are available at (215) 486-0123 today.


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