Norovirus associated with Mama Stortini's Restaurant & Bar in Seattle
Foodborne illness outbreak investigation
Updated December 18, 2017
- Public Health is investigating an outbreak of norovirus with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with Mama Stortini's Restaurant & Bar in Seattle.
- As part of the Public Health investigation, Environmental Health investigators visited and closed the restaurant on December 12. We have since identified 17 employees who experienced similar symptoms dating back to December 1. No staff reported working while ill.
- Since December 11, Public Health has learned of 47 ill patrons from 24 meal parties that became ill after consuming food and beverage from the restaurant from December 4 -December 11. No additional reports of illness have been received following the reopening of the restaurant.
- We have received laboratory confirmation that one of the ill persons was infected with norovirus. Though we do not have lab confirmation for the other people who got sick (because most people with norovirus do not need to see a healthcare provider), their symptoms are suggestive of norovirus as well. Often in norovirus outbreaks, laboratory testing is not useful to the patient and is not 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.
Posted December 13, 2017
- Public Health is investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea associated with Mama Stortini's Restaurant & Bar in Seattle.
- 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, investigators identified 14 employees who experienced similar symptoms the last two weeks.
- We do not have laboratory confirmation of the pathogen responsible for the illness, 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.
More information about norovirus
Status: Investigation is ongoing
PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS
December 18, 2017
- On December 14, after thorough cleaning and sanitizing, Mama Stortini’s was allowed to reopen.
- Environmental Health (EH) staff reviewed the requirement that ill staff are not allowed to return to work until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours, and they provided education about preventing the spread of norovirus – including proper handwashing and forbidding bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. They also reminded owners that illness complaints from patrons and employees must be reported to Public Health as soon as they are received.
- EH is planning to visit the establishment today, to conduct a follow up inspection and impress upon the owners and employees the requirement of ill employee policy.
- The restaurant has been cooperative and has indicated that they are working to update their company-wide sick leave policy.
December 12, 2017
- Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on December 12. During the field visit, investigators identified at least fourteen employees that had been ill the last two weeks.
- Ill staff will be required to remain out until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
- The restaurant is working cooperatively with Public Health; they closed on December 12 to allow time to complete a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of the restaurant.
- Environmental Health investigators made plans to revisit the restaurant before re-opening to ensure employees are maintaining a high level of hand hygiene and that proper cleaning and sanitizing of the restaurant was completed.
Mama Stortini's Restaurant & Bar
401 NE Northgate Way
Seattle, WA 98125