King County Public Health Dept. Allows Seattle Restaurant To Re-Open After 15 People Became Ill
December 15, 2017
(SEATTLE, WA.) -- King County Public Health allowed Mama Stortini's Restaurant & Bar in Seattle, 401 NE Northgate Way to re-open yesterday, Dec. 14 at 11:00 am after closing the eatery on Dec. 12th.
Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on Tuesday, December 12th and during the visit, "Investigators identified at least fourteen employees that had been ill the last two weeks," according to a statement from the health agency which then began what it called an investigation into "an outbreak of gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with Mama Stortini's."
King County Public Health says the restaurant worked cooperatively with Public Health in closing December 12th to allow time to complete a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the restaurant. The staff was required to remain out until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
The health agency says from December 11–12, 2017, Public Health learned of "15 ill persons from five different meal parties that became ill after consuming food and beverage from the restaurant on December 5 or December 6."
As part of the Public Health investigation, Environmental Health investigators visited and closed the restaurant on December 12. During the field inspection is when investigators identified the 14 employees who experienced similar symptoms the last two weeks.
"We do not have laboratory confirmation of the pathogen responsible for the illness," said the agency's statement about the outbreak "but symptoms are suggestive of norovirus. Often in norovirus outbreaks, no laboratory testing is done. The exact food or drink item that caused the illness has not been identified, though this is not uncommon for norovirus outbreaks where multiple food items may be contaminated."
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that frequently spreads person-to-person and is often associated with food. Norovirus illness often has a sudden onset of nausea and vomiting and/or watery diarrhea with cramps. A low-grade fever, chills, and body aches sometimes occur.
Norovirus rarely causes severe complications. Dehydration is the most common complication, particularly among young children and the elderly. No vaccine is available for norovirus.
General advice for reducing risk of contracting norovirus:
Wash hands, cutting boards, and counters used for food preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing any food or eating.
Wait at least 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea before preparing any food for others.