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Cooking for Others

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Mahaska Health Partnership Warns Against Cooking for Others While Ill

Mahaska Health Partnership Infection Control Coordinator warns against preparing food for others while ill.

“The Iowa Department of Public Health has received numerous reports of norovirus,” MHP Infection Control Coordinator Kim Rutledge, BSN, MHA, MPH, stressed. “They believe it is related to people who are ill preparing food for others.”

According to IDPH, norovirus is a common cause of viral gastroenteritis (also referred to as the “stomach bug”). Norovirus symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. “If you have experienced any sort of stomach illness you should refrain from preparing food for others,” Rutledge stressed. “A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of the kitchen until you have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.”

In the last 10 days, IDPH has been investigating reports of eight medium to large outbreaks of probable norovirus in five counties. Three groups became ill after eating at a restaurant where several food handlers had also been ill. Outbreaks were also associated with events like holiday parties and holiday potlucks, where foods were likely prepared and served by recently ill people.

“Norovirus can be a real holiday spoiler making you or your friends and family sick for several days,” Rutledge said. “If you have been sick, assign kitchen duty to someone else for a few days, they will thank you.”

To learn more about norovirus, visit To learn more about how MHP is making healthcare personal, visit