MADISON (WKOW) — Public Health Madison Dane County confirms Norovirus is the cause of the illness that led to the closure Thursday of La Hacienda on Park Street.
Director of Environmental Health Doug Voegeli told 27 News says PHMDC was looking into the possibility of a foodborne illness after multiple people reported getting sick after eating at the restaurant recently. The organization confirmed the cause as norovirus Tuesday.
The restaurant had been closed since Thursday night, but reopened Tuesday, May 14 after corrections were made and verified by Public Health Madison & Dane County.
Norovirus can be spread by having direct contact with an infected person, eating contaminated food or water or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
27 News has asked PHMDC where the contamination originated from, but haven’t heard back whether it was a La Hacienda staff member, a customer or another source.
UW-Madison Food Research Director Chuck Czuprynski says once the virus is spread, especially at a restaurant, it can take days or weeks to recover.
“If you really had contamination with the physical environment it could be quite problematic because the virus is resistant to many disinfectants,” said Czuprynski. “It will be inactivated by bleach but not by a lot of sources one might use.”
Any restaurant that’s contaminated by a foodborne illness is closed immediately and must take proper steps to reopen, according to the Division of Food and Recreational Safety in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.