Norovirus Hits Kansas City

600 Kansas Citians grew ill in mid-January 2016 when the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas was hit by norovirus.

Norovirus is commonly called “food poisoning” or “stomach flu,” its symptoms being stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is often spread quickly due to improper hand washing, contaminating people, food, drinks, and surfaces.

The event garnered national media attention, from The Guardian and ABC News, for example.

On Friday, January 29, 2016 a disinfecting and decontamination company cleaned New Theatre for a massive $40,000. Stomach flu outbreaks can of course potentially cost businesses customers on top of the cleaning costs, though the New Theatre vice president for sales and marketing claims New Theatre continues to see “full houses.”

On Monday, KCTV 5 reported a Buffalo Wild Wings at 105th Street and Metcalf Avenue saw 10 sick patrons and staffers. Samples are under examination to determine if this is also norovirus; the Kansas Department of Agriculture recently cited the restaurant with 18 food safety violations. The restaurant is temporarily closed for cleaning.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Kansas Hospital, says there is a possibility the two outbreaks linked.

“Certainly there’s always a possibility that there could be a link, especially since they are so close in proximity. That would be reasonable,” Hawkinson said.

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