News Releases > Health department investigating cases of illness at local restaurant chain
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (March 30, 2012) – The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is investigating a possible foodborne illness outbreak at a local restaurant chain.
The department has received multiple reports of illness from patrons who ate at the Cebolla’s Mexican Grill at 5930 West Jefferson Boulevard in Time Corners. About 20 people claim to have gotten sick after eating there on Sunday, March 25.
Although the investigation is ongoing and test results are pending, the symptoms are consistent with a type of viral gastroenteritis known as “norovirus.” It will likely be weeks before the investigation is concluded and findings are known.
The management of Cebolla’s is fully cooperating with health officials in this investigation. The restaurant voluntarily closed on Thursday to thoroughly clean and disinfect. Any employees who have been sick recently will be tested for infection and excluded from work.
Gastroenteritis can be caused by a variety of viruses, one of which is norovirus. Because it so easily spreads in places such as restaurants, schools, nursing homes and cruise ships, norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States.
People often become infected by eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touching their mouth, or having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal illness usually begin 24 to 48 hours after exposure and can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Anyone who develops symptoms should stay home and wash their hands frequently.
For more information, visit www.allencountyhealth.com or call 449-7561.
Norovirus illness is often called "food poisoning" or "stomach flu." But norovirus illness is not the only cause of food poisoning and is not related to the flu, which is a respiratory illness. Symptoms of norovirus infection usually include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping. Other, less common symptoms, may include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Most people will recover in one or two days and suffer no long-term health effects from the illness. However, young children and the elderly are at higher risk for dehydration and should drink plenty of liquids to replace liquids lost to vomiting and diarrhea. The best way to keep from spreading the virus is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers or preparing food. Contaminated surfaces should also be cleaned and disinfected with a bleach solution.