State and local health officials have announced a Norovirus outbreak linked to the El Toro restaurants in Tacoma and University Place, Washington. The El Toro in Tacoma’s Westgate neighborhood closed for sanitizing on Monday January 8th after 41 people reported becoming ill after dining at the restaurant. On Wednesday, the sister restaurant in University Place was forced to close as well.
In total there have been over 540 total illnesses reported from patrons at both locations. Onset dates of illness have been reported between December 31st and January 8th.
Officials believe that this outbreak has such high numbers because of the long exposure time before the health department was notified and because public outreach by the health department was greater than in previous instances making people aware that their symptoms might be norovirus.
Norovirus symptoms include:
· Watery diarrhea
· Abdominal pain
· Muscle aches
· Low-grade fever
Health officials are continuing to investigate the exact source of the outbreak. If you or a family member have experienced symptoms, contact the Pierce County Health Department (253) 891-6535.