1 dead, 15 sickened after Forest Grove meeting, possible norovirus outbreak

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by KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 7:20 PM

FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- One person has died and 15 other people were sickened after a meeting in Forest Grove last Friday that may be linked to a norovirus outbreak, health officials said.

As first reported in the Oregonian, 43-year-old Kevin Weeks died Tuesday. Weeks, of McMinnville, was among 40 people to attend a meeting at the Oregon Dept. of Forestry.

Days after the meeting, Weeks and 15 other people who ate fruit salad at the meeting became sick with severe gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting and diarrhea, according to Tri-County Deputy Health officer Dr. Paul Lewis.  He added that the specific cause had not been determined but the symptoms and time frame were consistent with norovirus.

An autopsy was conducted Thursday and Yamhill County Medical Examiner Bill Koenig told Lewis that  Weeks' cause of death was unknown, but did not appear to be norovirus. Lab results should be back within four to five days which should reveal more.

The State Forests Advisory Committee met in the Forest Grove Community Auditorium. Breakfast and lunch were catered.

Weeks was a spokesman for the forestry department.

"His office is grieving the loss of a talented and well-loved colleague," Weeks' supervisor Dan Postrel told KGW.  "He was energetic, willing to go the extra mile, a hard worker and well-liked. He will be missed."

Postrel, the program director for Oregon Forestry Agency Affairs, said Weeks worked out of the Salem office and did not have any underlying health issues that his co-workers knew about.

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