Hundreds Sickened from Restaurant Norovirus Outbreak
Public Health England has began a formal inquiry after reports of hundreds of both staff and customers from Wahaca falling ill. The outbreak, though unconfirmed is a suspected case of norovirus from initial testing according to Public Health England who are continuing investigations.
The Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca, founded by a former winner of BBC’s MasterChef, closed down nine of their branches due to the infection. In a statement with co-founder Thomasina Miers said “Last week a number of our staff and customers were struck down by what is suspected to be the winter vomiting bug norovirus” she then went onto say they had assessed each case and that as soon as it became apparent the incidents were not isolated they contacted relevant personnel at Public Health England and Environmental Health Officers.
According to Deborah Turbitt, deputy director for health protection at Public Health England, the source of the outbreak was still yet to be determined and that they though had been made aware of 205 staff and 106 members of the public reporting sickness these cases are unconfirmed.
Affected restaurants span several branches across London extending to other regions across the UK such as Manchester, Brighton and Cardiff. After the outbreak Wahaca voluntary closed affected restaurants and assured that staff who had reported sickness did not return to work their work site until resolution of symptoms for a minimum of 48 hours. They salso sincerely apologised to those affected by the outbreak stating that “in nine years since we first opened Wahaca we have never had such an unprecedented incident.”
PHE state that they are working closely both with environmental health officers the restaurant chain to investigate the outbreak.
All Wahaca restaurants have been cleaned by specialists and later five affected sites were reopened. The remaining affected branches are hoping to be reopened on a case by case basis.
Date Published: November 8, 2016
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