By Sara Shookman
HURON, Ohio (WKYC)
- More than 70 people have been sickened and the only common thread: A well-known Sandusky area resort.
Officials told us Friday they confirmed the norovirus in at least three people who attended a weeklong conference at Sawmill Creek, but now even weekend guests are coming down with the bug.
Just a week after her wedding and the new Mrs. Stacy O'Malley, her husband and six relatives have been violently ill.
"When we finally heard the story that people were sick at Sawmill Creek, it kind of all clicked," she said.
Erie County Health Officials have noted dozens of people sick following a convention that ended the day Stacy and her family were checking in.
"The lady at the front desk said "we just checked out 200 people from a conference and you wouldn't believe what happened...it was a really rough time," said Carol Kadlec, Stacy's mother.
They noticed a strong bleach smell in their hotel rooms, but were too happy for the wedding weekend to think much of it.
Until one by one, seven of her eight family members had the same norovirus symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and chills.
Officials have sent food and stool samples to the state's lab, but haven't been able to pinpoint the cause of the illness.
They say the resort is cooperating completely and stepping up its sanitation. But Kadlec says they had a right to know, before their celebration was stunted.
"Shame on Sawmill Creek for doing it, they should have given us the option if we wanted to stay there," she said. "I won't be staying at a hotel for a long long time. Or even going out to eat right now. It was too much of an experience."
Residents are being advised to avoid contact with sick persons and be vigilant about washing their hands.
Officials say the sickness has not been directly connected to the resort or its food and are awaiting more test results.
But it's rare to have so many people ill at one location.
Authorities suspect the virus is at large in the population and there will be more cases. It is rarely fatal.