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Officials: Norovirus to blame for sickness at Nashville restaurant

Posted May 16, 2012

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— An outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that impacted patrons of Ribeye's Steakhouse in Nashville nearly two weeks ago was caused by norovirus, officials with the Nash County Health Department said in a report released last week. 

An initial investigation linked the illness to the restaurant, located off N.C. Highway 64 in Nashville, but authorities concluded last week after their investigation that norovirus was to blame. 

Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks across the United States. 

Officials said the transmission of the virus at Ribeye's likely ended May 4, but warned that there have been other reports of similar illness from people not associated with the restaurant. Nash County Health Department officials warned residents in the area to take precautions to help prevent the spread of norovirus. 

The best prevention is frequent hand washing, he said, adding that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don't work against the virus.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. They usually last one or two days, but people are contagious for at least three days after they recover.

Norovirus is easily spread by touching a contaminated surface or by eating food prepared by someone who's sick, officials said. Weber urged people who feel ill to stay home to avoid spreading the illness, and said people should use bleach-based cleaners to wipe down desks, counters and other surfaces.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 17, 2012

    @WinnieFan, if you truly believe that this "was not the fault of the restuarant" and was just one "salad prepper employee", why would you avoid future visits to the salad bar?

  • IBnormal May 16, 2012

    It would be possible for a disreputable restaurant to TRY to pawn off scraps of meat as whole-muscle cuts. The restaurant would likely be unsuccessful in the long run because their customers would know. Any restaurant using meat glue to cheat their customers should be shut down –but I have never seen or heard of such a case.
    Claim: Even an expert can’t tell if meat has been glued. You are getting ripped off without knowing it.
    Answer: Anyone that has used meat glue knows this is untrue. The bonds in a glued piece of meat are clearly visible. The smaller the scraps of meat that are glue together, the more obvious the glue-job.

  • WinnieFan May 16, 2012

    Doots514, they are a fine, clean establishment... but THIS time, a salad prepper was sick with Norovirus and did not take precautions to keep it from spreading. Mainly, hand washing after using the bathroom. Probably should not have been working in that condition anyway. It was not the fault of the restaurant, but it WAS the employee of the restaurant who started spreading the sickness. Once patrons of the restaurant contracted it, then it continued to spread from there to others (non-patrons)

    Speaking as one who was violently ill... it does turn me away from the restaurant, but only temporarily. I'm sure I'll eat there again... I'll probably just avoid the salad bar!

  • nanasmom1002 May 16, 2012

    Doots514 I AGREE 100%

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 16, 2012

    The Government Health Department needs to be de-commissioned. We don't need any restrictions placed on private businesses...it just cuts into their profits.

    Making sure a restaurant's food and water is safe is just too much of a Big Government burden. Free the Businesses!!!

    If people get sick and even die, the market will adjust itself. Leave private businesses alone!

    (sarcasm)

  • doots514 May 16, 2012

    anonemoose -

    in the Rocky Mount Telegram is says that the restaurant was NOT to blame that people other than patrons of Ribeyes were sick as well.

    In such bad economic times - it would be nice if ALL facts were known before anything was reported about this or any other business - I'm sure the story has impacted their business.

    As a small business owner operating in Rocky Mount for 32 years, I frequent other small businesses. RIBEYES is a fine, clean establishment! I eat there atleast once a week and would recommend the restaurant to anyone!

  • anonemoose May 16, 2012

    Pinball, read this and tell me where it says the restaurant or it's employees (restaurant) were not at fault.

    Norovirus is easily spread by touching a contaminated surface or by eating food prepared by someone who's sick, officials said.

    It says an employee could have caused it by being sick and not washing their hands.

  • Student Nurse May 16, 2012

    Norovirus is transmitted via fecal matter and vomit. Wash your hands before eating! Assume that all public surfaces (like tables in a restaurant) have been touched by a non-hand washer. So, you touched the table - it is inevitable...don't put your hands in your mouth. Use a fork. It only takes 18 norovirus particles to become infected.

  • pinball wizard May 16, 2012

    The restaurant was not at fault.

  • not my real name May 16, 2012

    another good reason NOT to eat out.

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