The Alisal Guest Ranch has been scrubbing down more thoroughly than usual after a gastrointestinal illness affected a number of guests last week. The Santa Ynez Valley dude ranch called Public Health on Wednesday once it determined several people had fallen ill, and a lab confirmed norovirus on Saturday. In the meantime, the resort had been aggressively sanitizing the rooms occupied by the sick guests, said Susan Klein-Rothschild of County Public Health.

The Alisal cancelled its guest reservations between April 3-6 in order to systematically clean and sanitize the entire facility, as recommended by Public Health. Norovirus is an easily transmitted disease that spreads rapidly, and it commonly occurs in crowded places like cruise ships and schools. Klein-Rothschild stated that at her own Thanksgiving meal one year, a nephew who was sick spread the disease among 20 of the 22 people at the holiday table.

The Alisal outbreak is believed to have spread by personal contact, although Klein-Rothschild said they have not been able to pinpoint the source. An inspection of the food operations “did not suggest that the illness was foodborne,” she emailed. Klein-Rothschild emphasized that old-fashioned hand-washing with soap and water was the best way to avoid the disease, as pieces of virus are often found on surfaces touched by many people, such as doors, sink taps, handrails, and so on.

The Alisal confirmed it is ready to reopen on April 6.


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