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Tijuana Taco in Lakewood closed for suspicion of norovirus epidemic

A second Lakewood restaurant was closed this week by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for suspicion of norovirus outbreak.

Mexican fast food restaurant Tijuana Taco at 1005 Bristol Ave. SW in Lakewood, was closed Wednesday after the Ministry of Health received information from ill patients.

Sick guests said they ate at Tijuana Tacos on Friday (22 February). Five people in two households reported experiencing similar symptoms to norovirus from Saturday (23 February), the health department said.

The guests reported their symptoms to the health department on Wednesday.

The health department investigated and found that two employees of Tijuana Taco were working on February 22 and reported that they had become sick with symptoms similar to those of norovirus on February 23. Employees will be tested for norovirus.

According to the protocol of the health service, the restaurant will be closed for at least 24 hours to allow the service time to investigate the reported diseases and allow staff time to clean and disinfect the restaurant.

The health department also closed the Tijuana Taco food truck as a precaution. No guest said he fell ill after eating food from the truck, but the food truck and restaurant share only one kitchen, the health department said.

Representatives of Tijuana Taco could not be contacted immediately on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the health department closed another restaurant, California Tacos in Lakewood, after three customers were informed that they had become ill after eating at the Mexican restaurant on Sunday (Feb. 24). California Tacos employees have also reported similar symptoms to norovirus and will be screened for the virus.

The Department of Health notes, "We have found no connection to the presumed norovirus outbreak in Tacos, California, which is also located in Lakewood. Our investigation is in progress. "

Clients who have visited Tijuana Taco and then become ill can report their illness to food@tpchd.org, report the disease online at tpchd.org or call 253-798-4712.

The Ministry of Health pays special attention to norovirus outbreaks to help prevent secondary infections. When someone falls ill, it is easy to pass the virus on to other family members. The Ministry of Health recommends disinfecting and cleaning a house after the appearance of symptoms similar to those of norovirus.

Removing the virus in a house or restaurant is a delicate task, as norovirus is a troublesome pathogen that lives on the surface for several days, is easily transmitted and is highly contagious. The Department of Health recommends using a solution of bleach containing 1/1 cup of bleach in a gallon of water and cleaning the surfaces with the solution leaving at least one minute of contact time.

Symptoms of norovirus may appear a few hours or days after contact with the pathogen. Symptoms include prolific vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually go away in a day or two with no long-term effects.

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