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November 4, 2016

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Hundreds ill after ‘norovirus’ outbreak at Wahaca restaurants

Over 300 people have been taken ill after a suspected outbreak of norovirus at Wahaca, a Mexican restaurant chain.

Public Health England (PHE) have begun an inquiry into the outbreak after 205 staff and 160 members of the public fell ill.

PHE will be trying to determine the source of the outbreak, says Deborah Turbitt, the London deputy director for health protection at PHE.

“Public Health England has been notified of a suspected norovirus outbreak at the restaurant chain,” she said.

“We are working closely with environmental health officers and the restaurant chain to investigate.

“Currently the source of the outbreak is not confirmed and this remains under investigation.”

The 2005 Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers founded Wahaca, opening the first of its 19 restaurants in 2007.

Following the norovirus outbreak this week, nine of the branches were shut – including those in Manchester, Cardiff, Brighton and six in London.

Wahaca has said that all the restaurants have been cleaned and five of the affect sites have reopened.

In a statement the restaurant chain said that had ensured all staff members who reported illness remained off site until their symptoms had ceased for at least 48 hours.

“We are incredibly sorry that people have been unwell,” the statement read.

“In the nine years since we first opened Wahaca we have never had such an unprecedented incident, and we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of how this may have happened.”

Norovirus causes a sudden onset of nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, usually about 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected.

Most people make a full recovery within one to two days, but the very old and the very young risk becoming dehydrated which might require hospital treatment.

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