Virus Spreads at Wedding Reception 

Close to 100 people attended a wedding and reception in Bangor earlier this month. A short time later, many of those guests reported being sick.State health officials say while they can confirm there was some sort of outbreak that day, they can’t pinpoint how it was transmitted. And some of the guests are still asking questions.Folks say the wedding of Laura and Kevin DiDonato here on October 4th was beautiful. Until the next day, when many of their guests reported feeling sick, including Sarah Atherton. She had to stay home from work and see a doctor.”And I looked on Facebook and a bunch of my friends were sick. And then I got in touch with the bride and every time that I talked to her, the number got bigger and bigger….she had to leave her honeymoon early because her husband was sick,” Atherton says.The outbreak was reported to state health officials, who put out a report Wednesday. They interviewed 63 wedding guests. Forty-four people, or 70 percent of them, reported being sick with symptoms of norovirus, a common virus that’s transmitted quickly in different ways.”This is a pretty good size outbreak. We do have norovirus outbreaks throughout the year in Maine, but this would be one of the largest reported to us,” says Dr. Andrew Pelletier, medical epidemiologist with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “Norovirus can present as severe illness, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, and people will be very uncomfortable.”They couldn’t conclude exactly how the virus was transmitted at the event. Jane Arey at the Spectacular Events Center says she’s certain it wasn’t through their food.”I’ve been in business for 10 years, and we’ve never had an incident. So I can feel very strongly about our practices and the temperatures we cook the food, and how we do it, how we prep it, etc.,” Arey says.During an inspection, the health department did find some violations. The report also notes that some people who attended the wedding said they were sick when they came.”There’s always that risk factor, for all of us, when a large group is in a confined space…sometimes people don’t know they’re still contagious,” Arey says. “It’s unfortunate, but it happens.”The bride tells TV5 it was an upsetting end to their wedding day…but she hopes people remember the good memories, too.