The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a “norovirus outbreak” at Hogan Brothers in Northfield.

As of Thursday, there were roughly 15 reported illnesses, according to Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, most of which are Carleton College students, he said.

After receiving a call from Carleton College and receiving calls through a hotline indicating some of its students were ill, the department began investigating.

The first complaint came in on Monday, with students reporting sickness on Sunday, into Monday. However, Schultz said the department suspects most of the exposure occurred on Saturday, April 23. Symptoms usually begin 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure, according to MDH.

Eric Sieger, Carleton’s director of media and public relations, said the college’s Student Health and Counseling Center kept a database and allowed students to fill out a form online once students started presenting similar symptoms.

According to an email that was sent to the Carleton College community on Wednesday, around 20-25 students had recently reported nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which are characteristics of norovirus.

The email noted it was “very unlikely the illness is related to food served in any of the Carleton dining facilities.”

Schultz said the staff from the department went into the restaurant and advised it to do a deep cleaning, screen any ill employees, in addition to discarding any food that could potentially be contaminated.

The restaurant is voluntarily closed through Monday, Schultz said.

According to a sign on the Hogan Brothers’ door, “Hogan Brothers will be closed until Monday 5/2. We apologize for any inconvenience. Have a wonderful weekend. (staff experienced flu outbreak).”

Attempts to reach staff at Hogan Brothers have been unsuccessful.

According to the Department of Health’s website, noroviruses are found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water or surfaces by hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.

Common symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping.

Schultz said for people at the college and people in the community, it’s important to be washing their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water after going to the bathroom, before eating and before handling food.

“If you’re ill, stay home and don’t prepare food for other people,” he said.

Symptoms usually last one or two days, according to MDH; however, during that brief period, people can feel ill and vomit, often violently and without warning, many times a day.

Story as originally posted at 11:30 a.m. on April 29:

The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating a “norovirus outbreak” at Hogan Brothers in Northfield.

As of Thursday, there were about 15 reported illnesses, according to Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, most of which are Carleton College students, he said.

After receiving a call from a college in Northfield indicating some of its students were ill, the department began investigating.

Schultz said the staff from the DOH went into the restaurant and advised it to do a deep cleaning of the restaurant, screen any ill employees, in addition to discarding any food that could potentially be contaminated.

The restaurant is voluntarily closed through Monday, Schultz said.

According to the Department of Health’s website, noroviruses are found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water or surfaces by hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.

Common symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping.

According to a sign on the Hogan Brothers’ door, “Hogan Brothers will be closed until Monday 5/2. We apologize for any inconvenience. Have a wonderful weekend. (staff experienced flu outbreak).”

Attempts to reach staff at Hogan Brothers have not been successful.

The News will update this story when additional information becomes available.

Reach Associate Editor Brad Phenow at 507-645-1116, or follow him on Twitter @BradPhenow.

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