Merry Christmas! Buffet at Health Department Party Sickens 42

A county health department in southern Illinois found its Christmas party anything but tasty after dozens of people fell ill at a restaurant.

The head of the Lawrence County Health Department says she was among 42 people who got sick during the buffet gathering of 72 people on Dec. 15 in Lawrenceville.

Phyllis Wells says the cause of the outbreak hasn't been pinpointed, but she suspects the culprit was a norovirus.

People can get it through contact with infected people, ingesting contaminated food or drink, or by touching contaminated items and then their mouths.

For now, Wells says the common denominator appears to be ham served in the salad bar.

State health officials are investigating.