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Posted November 6, 2017

Highlights

  • Public Health investigated an outbreak of gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with Rachel's Ginger Beer and Ma'ono in Seattle's University Village.

  • On October 27, Public Health learned of two people from the same meal party who became ill after consuming food and beverage from the two establishments on October 24.

  • These two establishments have teamed up to provide food and drink to customers; Ma'ono serves food at a separate counter inside Rachel's Ginger Beer. Because of the shared dining and kitchen space for customers and staff, they really function as a single restaurant (despite being permitted separately). This made it impossible to separate contributing risk factors between the two establishments during the foodborne illness investigation.

  • We do not have laboratory confirmation of the etiology, 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.

Prevention

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:

  1. Wash hands, cutting boards, and counters used for food preparation immediately after use to avoid cross contaminating other foods.

  2. Wash hands thoroughly with soap after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing any food or eating.

  3. Wait at least 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea before preparing any food for others.

More information about norovirus

  1. Norovirus facts, Public Health – Seattle & King County
  2. Norovirus facts, Foodsafety.gov
AT-A-GLANCE

Cases: 2
Hospitalizations: 0
Deaths: 0
Status: Complete

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

November 6, 2017

  • Public Health's Environmental Health inspectors visited the establishments on October 28 and again on October 30.

  • During the field investigations, Environmental Health inspectors identified improper handwashing and multiple opportunities for cross contamination at both establishments; these risk factors are known to contribute to the spread of norovirus.

  • On November 2, Environmental Health inspectors made a return site visit to ensure violations had been corrected and that both facilities had completed thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the entire shared space. Management from both establishments have worked cooperatively with Public Health.
LOCATION

Ma'ono and Rachel's Ginger Beer
4626 26th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105