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Thu 3rd Nov 2016 - Wahaca shuts nine restaurants following suspected norovirus outbreak
Wahaca shuts nine restaurants following suspected norovirus outbreak: Hundreds of staff and diners at Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca have been struck down with suspected norovirus. Public health chiefs confirmed they had launched a national probe into the outbreak. In total, 205 workers and 160 customers have fallen ill in vomiting bug cases linked to the restaurant chain. Wahaca was founded by Thomasina Miers, who won MasterChef in 2005. It has 25 venues across the UK. Nine of its restaurants across the UK were voluntarily shut down in the wake of the outbreak. Five have since reopened. One of the restaurants affected was the chain’s branch in Canary Wharf, east London. A message to customers on the official website for the restaurant yesterday (Wednesday, 2 November) said: “We’re really sorry but due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to close today. We hope to be open up again soon, please keep an eye here for updates.” Public Health England has confirmed to the Daily Mirror it had launched a major probe into the outbreak. Deborah Turbitt, London deputy director for health protection for Public Health England, said: “Public Health England has been notified of a suspected norovirus outbreak at a restaurant chain. We are working closely with environmental health officers and the restaurant chain to investigate. We have so far been made aware of 205 staff and 160 members of the public reporting illness, however these are unconfirmed cases. Currently, the source of the outbreak is not confirmed and this remains under investigation. Norovirus can be very unpleasant but is rarely serious. Most people make a full recovery within one or two days, without treatment. It is important that people with diarrhoea and vomiting drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.” A Wahaca spokeswoman said: “We can confirm a number of our employees and customers have reported becoming ill over the past week. Initial tests suggest that the cause of this illness was norovirus. Following these reports, Wahaca voluntarily closed nine sites. After specialist deep cleaning of all sites, whether affected or not, and with the co-operation of relevant authorities we have reopened five of those sites and continue to monitor the issue closely in order to ensure it is contained and resolved. As ever our main priority is to ensure that all of our customers and our valued team members are safe and healthy.” Norovirus can be extremely unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days. It’s also called the winter vomiting bug because it’s more common in winter, although people can catch it at any time of the year. Symptoms of norovirus are very distinctive. They include suddenly feeling sick, projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea. There is no cure for norovirus, so those affected have to let it run its course. Some people also have a slight fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs.

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