In March 1998, an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis occurred among students at a Texas university. Overall, 125 ill students sought medical care. Case-control studies revealed that illness was significantly associated with eating foods from the university's main cafeteria dell bar on 9 and 10 March. Stool specimens from 9 (50%) of 18 ill students and samples of deli ham showed evidence of Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) by reverse-transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. A food handler who prepared sandwiches for lunch on 9 March reported that her infant had been sick with watery diarrhea since just before the outbreak. A stool sample from the infant was positive for NLV by RT-PCR, and the sequence of the amplified product was identical to that of amplified product from dell ham and students' stool specimens. This is the first time RT-PCR and sequence analysis have successfully confirmed vital contamination of a food item likely to have been contaminated by a food handler.