The Tazewell County Health Department (TCDH) of Tremont, Illinois, is currently investigating a norovirus outbreak believed to be caused by local restaurant Monical’s Pizza in Washington.
A suspected 150 illnesses have been connected to eating at Monical’s Pizza in Washington and 3 cases of norovirus have been laboratory-confirmed and identified. Reports of illnesses first surfaced on Saturday, November 26, after members from a larger party that had recently eaten at Monical’s Pizza in Washington began reporting symptoms. Officials of TCDH began their investigation soon after receiving reports of illnesses from both the larger party and other restaurant patrons. Of the other Monical’s locations, no illnesses or symptoms have been reported. Along with TCDH, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is currently testing samples to discover the cause of the outbreak.
Investigators believe the illness onset dates to range from November 21, 2022, to November 26, 2022, though interviews with sick restaurant patrons remain ongoing. Patrons who ate at Monical’s Pizza in Washington between November 21 and November 26, 2022, are encouraged to report any symptoms online to the TCDH. The Washington location of Monical’s Pizza temporarily closed after the reports of illnesses and has since reopened on November 29, 2022, following the TCDH’s conduction of a thorough inspection of the restaurant. While voluntarily closed, Monical’s Pizza disposed of all premade food, performed vigorous cleaning, reported any symptoms of illnesses, and conducted staff training on proper food safety handling.
Norovirus, most commonly referred to as the stomach flu or a stomach bug, is highly contagious and contracted by ingesting an infected person’s poop or vomit particles. According to the CDC, Norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain, with symptoms customarily developing 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, and typically subsiding after 1 to 3 days. As norovirus illness can quickly lead to dehydration due to loss of fluids, it is highly important to remain hydrated and seek medical attention if symptoms of dehydration develop, such as decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat, and sudden dizziness when standing up.