An outbreak of norovirus at Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant has sickened at least 50 people in Bellevue, Washington. A separate outbreak of the virus is suspected after more than 100 people near Kansas City became ill after attending a performance at the New Theatre Restaurant.
In a related Inquisitr report, a norovirus outbreak sickened 120 college students after eating at a Boston-area Chipotle restaurant in December.
The Seattle Times is reporting that health officials in Seattle ordered the close of Maggiano’s Little Italy while an outbreak of norovirus food poisoning is investigated. After attending a private party at the restaurant last week, 50 people reported getting sick.
Several employees of the Italian restaurant located at N.E. Eighth St. in Bellevue also came down with symptoms that point to the norovirus. According to a press release by Maggiano’s, the restaurant is fully cooperating with Seattle public-health authorities while the source is determined.
The outbreak was reported by the restaurant on Friday and the incident is being taken “very seriously.” Their food-business permit is currently under suspension while thorough cleaning and sanitizing take place.
According to the statement, the restaurant staff is working diligently to disinfect the site and are required to report if they at all feel sick. Any employees who show any signs of the illness will not be allowed to come to work.
While suspected, officials have not confirmed the illnesses were caused by the norovirus, as lab test results are still pending.
While investigators determine the source of norovirus in Washington, another outbreak is happening in Overland Park, Kansas.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment are looking into the possibility of an outbreak of norovirus that has affected several dozen people. After visiting the popular New Theatre Restaurant, the KDHE has confirmed at least 100 people have fallen ill.
Health officials were alerted after a couple ate at the dinner theater and became extremely sick. The husband and wife made several calls to other family members and friends who saw the same show and discovered they were suffering from the same symptoms. Shortly thereafter, the health department was notified.
Theater attendee Keil Hileman still has tickets, but may not use them.
“It’s a great place, great theater, great food. We still have two more tickets. Water was making me throw up to the point I had nothing to throw up. I had what they call the dry heaves. Eighteen times from Monday night to Wednesday.”
Hileman said his father ate at the theater with ten others. All of them are sick except one person who eats gluten free. They went through the same food line as he did.
Local TV station KCTV 5 reports that everyone who was sickened by the norovirus were at the dinner show on January 17. KDHE says there have been no reports of illnesses from any other day.
Theater employees do not think it was the food preparation or food service that caused the outbreak. Rob McGraw, vice president of sales and marketing for the theater, says the illness may have come from a guest.
“It could have been a guest who had the flu, came in and coughed and passed it around to other guests in his vicinity. We had the flu for one day. It was a week and a half ago. There have been no further instances, so it’s kind of a non-story.”
The New Theatre received a perfect inspection from health officials in August, 2015. A new inspection wasn’t due until January 20, three days after the reported norovirus outbreak began.
Norovirus outbreaks like the one at Maggiano’s and New Theatre happen quickly as the virus is easily spread from food or person-to-person. Symptoms of an infection include vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea, which typically last three days or longer. Approximately 19 to 21 million people are stricken with the illness every year and is most common during the winter.
[Photo by Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images]