Foodborne illness outbreak investigation
Updated May 1, 2017
After ensuring that the establishment had been thoroughly disinfected, Public Health authorized La Hacienda to reopen as of 3:20 pm, Friday, April 28, 2017. No further reports of illness have been received.
Posted April 28, 2017
Public Health is investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis with vomiting, nausea and diarrhea associated with La Hacienda located at 811 S. 3rd Street, Renton, WA. Five people from one dinner party became ill after eating food at the restaurant on April 21, 2017. Public Health learned of the outbreak on April 25th.
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 item that caused the illnesses has not yet been identified, though this is not uncommon for outbreaks of norovirus when multiple food items may be contaminated.
As part of the Public Health investigation, Environmental Health Investigators visited the restaurant on 4/27/17. During the field inspection, they identified improper food handling practices that are known to contribute to the spread of Norovirus. To allow time for thorough cleaning and sanitizing, the restaurant was closed on 4/27. The restaurant has been working cooperatively with Public Health. A return inspection will be conducted to ensure that all public health corrective measures have been taken before the restaurant reopens to the public.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is frequently spread 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.
To prevent norovirus infection:
- While cooking shellfish can reduce the risk of norovirus illness, quick steaming or cooking until the shells just open may not be enough to protect against norovirus illness. Norovirus can survive cooking temperatures up to 140°F.
- Wash hands, cutting boards, and counters used for shellfish 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.
For more information on norovirus, see: