Likely norovirus outbreak hits Tippecanoe County

Walt's Pub & Grill in West Lafayette, Ind. seen on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (WTHR Photo/Scott Allen)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) - The Tippecanoe County Health Department believes norovirus may have caused more than three dozen people to become sick late last month.

Craig Rich, administrator for the health department, said the department received phone calls or emails from a number of people who had eaten at Walt's Pub and Grill, on or around December 21 and "had gotten pretty ill with nausea, vomiting and diarreaha."

Rich said health officials determined it was norovirus after stool samples from an employee and a customer came back positive for the virus.

Norovirus is often described as "a stomach bug." It spreads quickly and is highly contagious, especially when it comes to child care centers and cruise ships.

No one complaining of symptoms was hospitalized, according to Rich. He said often the worst thing that happens is people "could become dehydrated due to the loss of fluids."

He stressed the restaurant, which opened in November, "cooperated completely," voluntarily closing for one day to do a top-to-bottom cleaning. Rich told Eyewitness News it’s safe to eat at the restaurant.

"The secret to breaking the cycle is getting in there, cleaning, getting rid of the food," he said. "And once [the cycle] is broke, it's gone. It will go visit somewhere else....It can happen anywhere. It's very common."

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