King County Public Health, in Washington State, is investigating what appears to be a norovirus outbreak at the La Hacienda restaurant located at 811 S. 3rd Street, Renton, WA. According to reports, at least five victims developed gastroenteritis symptoms consistent with norovirus, including vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The victims ate at the La Hacienda on April 21, 2017, just days before King County Public Health learned of the La Hacienda Norovirus Outbreak.
In response to the reports of illness, KCPH inspected La Hacienda on April 27th. The inspection found instances of improper food handling that can contribute to the spread of norovirus. The HCPH closed the restaurant for cleaning and sanitizing, allowing it to reopen after it came back into compliance.
According to KCPH there is no epidemiological evidence that the pathogen was norovirus, which is common given it is not susceptible to a simple stool culture as is salmonella and Shiga toxin-producing e coli. However, given the rapid onset and duration of the symptoms, the illnesses match illnesses caused by the highly contagious and easily spread norovirus.
So far, KCPH has not identified the particular contaminated food item or how norovirus was spread within the La Hacienda. Traditional explanations include a sick food handler and the failure to engage in good personal hygiene and proper food manufacturing procedures.
For more information about the La Hacienda Norovirus Outbreak, or to speak to a norovirus lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.