September 18, 2020

More Than 400 Sickened in Norovirus Outbreak at El Toro Restaurants in Tacoma, Washington

At least 400 people have been sickened in a norovirus outbreak in Tacoma, Washington that is linked to two El Toro restaurants. Those two restaurants are located at 3820 Bridgeport Way West in University Place, and at 5716 North 26th Street in the Westgate area of the city.  Health officials said last week that the outbreak number is now 434 sick.


Reports of an outbreak started on January 5, 2018 from patrons who ate there between December 31, 2017 and January 2, 2018. People were experiencing the typical symptoms of norovirus, which included vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin about a day or two after exposure to the pathogenic virus.

Lab testing on patient samples identified norovirus in the outbreak in Westgate. Tests are still pending for the illnesses at the restaurant at University Place. Most of those sickened were at the Westgate location, with 423 sickened. There are 11 cases at the restaurant in University Place.

Both of the restaurants closed last week for cleaning and sanitation. And both restaurants have since reopened. Reports of illness have “slowed down,” according to the health department.

According to news reports, staff members at the restaurant in Tacoma worked while they were sick eat the time that customers who were sickened ate there. Officials do not know if the two norovirus outbreaks at the two locations of the same restaurant chain are connected.

While most people recover completely after this illness, some, especially those in high risk groups such as the elderly, young children, and people with chronic illnesses, do become sick enough to be hospitalized. These people can develop dehydration or even sepsis.

If you ate at those restaurants and have been experiencing these symptoms, call the health department to file a report. If you are sick, stay home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours. This virus is very contagious, and the illness is spread through contaminated food and drink as well as person-to-person and through contact with contaminated surfaces.




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