July 16, 2019

Norovirus Outbreaks at California Taco and Tijuana Taco in Washington

Two norovirus outbreaks have been reported at two taco establishments in the the Tacoma area of Washington state, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. There is apparently no link between the two outbreaks.

Norovirus Outbreak California Taco Tijuana Taco

California Tacos, at 14818 Union Avenue SW in Lakewood was closed by the health department on February 26, 2019 for at least 24 hours. Three people in the same group but from separate households reported norovirus symptoms after they ate at tat restaurant. At least two restaurant employees were sick before this outbreak occurred.

The outbreak case count was updated on February 27, 2019, with reports of 11 people from three households being sick. Three of the households ate at the restaurant on Sunday, February 24, 2019, and one on Thursday, February 21, 2019. Six more people reported being sick on February 28, 2019

Two more updates, on March 1, 2019 and March 4, 2019, established the final case count of 19 people sickened. Investigators have collected samples from ill customers and from the restaurant employees for testing. Testing could take a couple of weeks.

The second norovirus outbreak, with 5 illnesses originally, was first reported on February 27, 2019 at Tijuana Taco at 1005 Bristol Avenue Southwest in Lakewood, Washington. That facility was also closed for 24 hours for sanitizing. The restaurant has a food truck that was temporarily closed, but there were no reports of norovirus associated with the truck.

On February 28, 2019, 33 more people reported illnesses after eating at that restaurant. Two restaurant employees also reported they were ill. The restaurant was cleared to open that day.

The final norovirus case count at that facility was 51, reported on March 1, 2019. Reports of illness have decreased, so the health department will not regularly update this outbreak until they receive test results.

The symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that may be watery, a fever, and abdominal pain. These symptoms occur quickly after exposure to the virus, and people typically recover quickly as well. The best way to prevent this illness is to stay home when you are sick, and to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the bathroom.

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