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200 fall ill after eating at Bravo; employees scrub restaurant

May 12, 2006

Lansing State Journal

Christine Rook

Workers are scrubbing the inside of Bravo Cucina Italiana in an attempt to rid the Eastwood Towne Center restaurant of the unidentified bacteria or virus blamed for making about 200 customers sick since May 3.

"We start with every light switch, every door-pull down to the last door handle," said Pam Ritz, spokeswoman for Bravo Development Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, which owns the local restaurant.

The Ingham County Health Department went into the restaurant last weekend and earlier this week to monitor employee hygiene and food preparation and storage. As of today, the department has not identified what is causing the sickness.

Carpets were being steamed cleaned, and all food, including what is in the freezer, was thrown out. The restaurant has voluntarily closed.

"You want to go from the front of the restaurant to the back and eliminate all variables," Ritz said.

The number of illness reports jumped from about 50 on Thursday.

"It's getting bigger," said the Health Department's Natasha Davidson.

Most of the reports have come from diners who ate at the restaurant last weekend, Davidson said, though the department has taken reports from as far back as May 3.

"This is still under investigation," Davidson said. "We need people to call in so we can find a commonality."

Health officials also are asking employees to report any sickness.

Diners' symptoms include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and fatigue.

Anyone who has eaten at Bravo since May 3 and exhibits the same symptoms should contact the health department at 272-4175. Reports also are being accepted online at; click Restaurant Illness Report Form. Include your name and phone number.

The Bravo company also is running a hotline for customers to call at (800) 328-7761.

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