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What to Do if You Suspect a Norovirus Outbreak

Posted in Norovirus on September 29, 2023

Suspecting a norovirus outbreak is a serious matter, and taking immediate action is important. By following these steps and seeking legal guidance when necessary, you can protect the rights and well-being of yourself and others affected.

Immediate Response

Report the Outbreak

Contact local health authorities to report the suspected outbreak. They will conduct an investigation to confirm the presence of norovirus.

Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical care as soon as possible if you are suffering symptoms of norovirus (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches). It will not only ensure your well-being but also provides documentation of your condition. In some cases, norovirus can lead to long-term complications such as Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can lead to kidney failure, malnutrition, heart conditions, and gastrointestinal issues.

Document the Outbreak

Collecting thorough documentation and evidence is critical if you are diagnosed with norovirus. This includes:

  • Food Samples: Keep any leftover food that you have that you believe is the source of your illness, along with any packaging. Health officials may be able to test samples of the suspected food for contamination.
  • Cleaning Records: If the outbreak is linked to a public space, request records of cleaning and sanitation practices.
  • Medical Records: Keep copies of all medical records related to the outbreak.
  • Witness Statements: Obtain statements from affected individuals and any witnesses who can attest to the conditions and symptoms.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have suffered severe symptoms or complications from norovirus, consult a trusted Norovirus lawyer as soon as possible. They can assess the situation and provide guidance on potential legal recourse. If an outbreak is confirmed and multiple individuals were affected, a class action norovirus lawsuit may also be an option.

Liability in a Norovirus Case

In many norovirus cases, plaintiffs (victims) may pursue claims based on negligence, arguing that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care in producing or handling the food product. This requires demonstrating that the defendant’s actions fell below a certain standard of care. The following parties may potentially be liable in your case:

Restaurants and Food Service Establishments

If the outbreak can be traced back to a specific restaurant or food service establishment, they may be liable.

Cruise Ships and Travel Accommodations

In cases of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships or in hotels, the operators may be liable.

Healthcare Facilities

Norovirus outbreaks in healthcare facilities can lead to liability if it’s determined that proper infection control measures were not followed.

Food Suppliers and Distributors

If the outbreak is linked to contaminated food products, the suppliers or distributors of those products may be held liable.

Some norovirus cases can be brought under the legal theory of strict liability, which is easier to prove. Strict liability holds a party accountable for harm caused by a norovirus outbreak, regardless of whether they were negligent or acted with intent. This means that if a party is deemed responsible for the outbreak, they may be held liable for damages even if they did not intentionally cause the outbreak or were not negligent in their actions.