KDHE: Update on norovirus illnesses investigation

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to investigate an outbreak of norovirus infection in which more than 600 individuals have became ill after attending the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kan.

KDHE, JCDHE, KDA and the city of Overland Park went to the New Theatre Restaurant on Friday, Jan. 29, to educate staff about norovirus, oversee cleanup, and observe food safety practices. Following the visit, the New Theatre Restaurant contracted with a private firm that cleaned the entire facility with an EPA-registered disinfectant, which kills norovirus and is safe for food establishments.

So far during KDHE’s investigation, more than 600 individuals have reported illness. A majority of these reports were from people who attended the New Theatre Restaurant between Friday, Jan. 15, and Tuesday, Jan. 19. KDHE has not received any reports of people becoming ill who attended New Theatre after Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Norovirus is very contagious and symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. A person develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed and most people get better within one to three days. Norovirus is spread person to person (having contact with someone who is infected with norovirus), through contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Persons who are ill with norovirus symptoms should not prepare food or care for other persons. The best way to prevent transmission of norovirus and other diseases is by proper hand washing.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds:
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

KDHE is requesting that all persons, those that became ill and those that did not become ill, who attended performances since Friday, Jan. 15 to fill out the secure, confidential online survey at http://tinyurl.com/newtheatre2016. KDHE is still investigating the source of the illness. Personal information provided to KDHE will be held confidential, and this information is protected by state law. Persons who have already participated in a telephone interview do not need to complete an online survey. For more information about the outbreak, call the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline at 877-427-7317.

Information thanks to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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