A party of 28 went into the La Fuente restaurant at 14400 SE Petrovitsky Rd in Renton, WA last Friday (Jan. 25) and all who attended experienced an outbreak of “norovirus-like illness” with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Public Health in King County, WA says the ill did not require hospitalization and there have not been any deaths.. La Fuente’s prior food safety inspection record was “okay.”

Public Health is investigating the outbreak. The party consumed both food and beverages at La Fuente.

Public Health Actions

“Environmental Health investigators visited the restaurant on January 29.,” Public Health reports. “Investigators learned of a possible ill customer at the restaurant on January 25. If this customer was infected with norovirus, this could have contaminated the bathroom area with norovirus. The investigators observed improper handwashing and inadequate handwashing facilities. No employees reported being ill.”

The restaurant closed for a thorough cleaning and sanitization. All foods processed before the restaurant being cleaned and sanitized were discarded. Investigators reviewed the requirement that ill staff is not allowed to work until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours, and they will provide education about preventing the spread of norovirus — including proper handwashing and preventing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Investigators revisited the restaurant on January 30 to confirm cleaning and sanitization was completed appropriately. The restaurant was allowed to reopen on January 30 at 5:30 pm.

Laboratory testing

King County does not have laboratory results for the people who get sick. Often in norovirus outbreaks, no laboratory testing is done. The exact food or drink item that caused the illness has not been identified, though this is not uncommon for norovirus outbreaks where multiple food items may be contaminated.

About norovirus

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that frequently spreads person-to-person and is often associated with food. Norovirus illness usually has a sudden onset of nausea and vomiting and/or watery diarrhea with cramps. A low-grade fever, chills, and body aches sometimes occur.
Norovirus rarely causes severe complications. Dehydration is the most common complication, particularly among young children and the elderly. No vaccine is available for norovirus.

General advice for reducing the risk of contracting norovirus:

  • Wash hands, cutting boards, and counters used for food preparation immediately after use to avoid cross-contaminating other foods.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing any food or eating.
  • Wait at least 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting and/or diarrhea before preparing any food for others.

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