Sunday April 20, 2014

Restaurant illness 'isolated incident'

Several staff members fall sick after catered event

A second case of holiday revelers falling ill after eating at a Kamloops restaurant is an isolated incident and not part of a norovirus outbreak, a medical health officer said Tuesday.

Interior Health received a report Monday that several staff at Insight Support Services fell ill after eating a catered meal by Chapters Viewpoint.

The celebration took place Saturday night. Dr. Rob Parker said people fell ill within six to 12 hours, which suggests they were not victims of norwalk.

“Norovirus usually takes a day and a half to two days before the first people get sick. Some people take three days to get sick,” he said. “This tends to point to another food-borne illness or toxin on a food item.”

An investigation determined there was no other reported illness from customers or other events catered by Chapters, said Parker.

“It seems to be an isolated incident,” he said.

Food samples from that night are being examined in a lab. Parker expects it will be several days before results come back.

Norovirus is on consumers’ minds after 40 Royal Inland Hospital employees fell ill eating catered food from Dorian Greek House last week. Lab tests confirmed norovirus in samples from three of the hospital staff.

Another nine people got sick after dining at the downtown restaurant Friday night. Dorian has since closed so a top-to-bottom cleaning can be done and any sick staff have time to recover.

Parker said norovirus circulates year-round but peaks in the winter despite the best efforts of a restaurant, school or care facility to prevent infection. Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.

“I don’t think that Kamloops is any worse infected or more infected than anywhere else in B.C. or Interior Health,” he said.

When an outbreak occurs at a public facility, a notice is posted on the Interior Health website and the media is informed, said Parker.

On average, restaurants are inspected once a year, he said. If something is wrong, a health inspector will follow up within an appropriate time frame.

“It means if he or she has to go back the next day, they will do that,” said Parker.

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