El Toro Norovirus Outbreak - Washington (2018)


Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department was initially notified of a potential norovirus outbreak on January 4, 2018 when two people reported norovirus-like symptoms after eating at El Toro Restaurant located at 5716 N 26th Street in Tacoma, Washington. By January 8, four more people had reported similar symptoms after eating at the same location, and a thorough public health investigation was launched.

The Tacoma location of El Toro was closed for inspection and cleaning. The public health investigation revealed that five employees had worked while ill with vomiting and/or diarrhea between December 29, 2017 and January 9, 2018. Three patrons who became ill after eating there tested positive for norovirus.

On January 10, the El Toro Restaurant located at 3820 Bridgeport Way W in University Place was also closed after three patrons reported similar norovirus-like symptoms. However, the health department investigation did not identify any sick employees at this location.

In total, 559 people were sickened at the two El Toro locations. The average duration of illness was 1 to 3 days. All ill cases reported eating at one of the El Toro locations between December 28, 2017 and January 9, 2018, and reported onset of symptoms between December 30, 2017 and January 11, 2018. Public health was unable to determine if the ultimate cause of the outbreak was foodborne or person-to-person transmission due to sick employees.

Marler Clark represented 28 people in this outbreak and settled all the cases, helping to recover wage loss and medical expenses.