The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is investigating a norovirus outbreak among people who attended the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas and is asking patrons of that facility to fill out an online questionnaire. They would like all people who have attended the theatre since Friday, January 15, 2016 to respond to help determine the cause of illness.
They want to collect information from people who were sickened and those who did not become ill. Participation is voluntary, and any information provided is completely confidential. If you have already filled out the survey when it requested information from people who attended the facility later than that date, please fill it out again. If you have been interviewed by telephone, you do not need to fill out the online survey.
Some of those who were sickened have submitted lab specimens that have confirmed norovirus. The symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. These symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus. People get sick by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water or by touching surfaces that have the virus. Norovirus sickens up to 21 million people every year in the U.S. It is more common in winter months, when more people are indoors.
As of February 1, 2016, more than 600 people have been sickened in this outbreak. Most of those sickened attended the New Theatre Restaurants between Friday, January 15 and Tuesday, January 19, 2016. There have been no reports of anyone becoming ill who attended the theatre after Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
The New Theatre Restaurant has been inspected and staff has been educated about this virus. The restaurant contracted with a private firm that cleaned the facility with an EPA-registered disinfectant.
To avoid spreading norovirus or any foodborne illness, never prepare or serve food to people if you are ill, especially with vomiting and/or diarrhea. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before, during, and after preparing food, after using the toilet, and after changing diapers or caring for someone who is ill. Also wash your hands after handling pet or animals, and after touching garbage.