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Restaurants Involved In Norovirus Outbreak Reopen: Are They Safe Now?

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The restaurants in South Burlington, Vermont believed to have been involved in a norovirus outbreak have reopened following two days of voluntary closure.

On March 23, the state's Department of Health announced that it launched an investigation of the outbreak in The Windjammer and the Upper Deck Pub following over 50 reported cases of illness and nine lab-confirmed norovirus infections.

Norovirus Outbreak

During its closure, employees cleaned The Windjammer restaurant, which was downstairs, and the Upper Deck Pub, which was upstairs. Associated Press reports that management administered thorough cleaning and discarded prepared foods.

Tom O'Connell, the owner of The Windjammer, said that there's no evidence proving the norovirus outbreak began at the restaurant, as it could have originated from a customer, a food vendor, or an employee.

"Norovirus travels in mysterious ways," said O'Connell.

Nearly everything inside the restaurant has undergone sanitation, including chairs, utensils, napkins, bottles, and many others, as confirmed by Bonnie Desrochers, the manager of the Upper Deck Pub. Closure affected business as the restaurant typically had busy nights, and the incident was also tough on the staff because they missed shifts and potential income from tips. But shutting down the restaurant "was the right thing to do," she said.

Norovirus Symptoms

According to the NHS, norovirus causes diarrhea and vomiting and can be a very unpleasant experience but usually dissipates by itself after a few days. Norovirus is easily spread to others via contaminated surfaces and ingestion of contaminated food or water.

Symptoms may include:

• suddenly feeling sick

• projectile vomiting

• watery diarrhea

Some individuals may also experience slight fever, headaches, and painful stomach aches, which is why it's sometimes referred to as the "stomach flu," though norovirus isn't associated with the influenza.

"The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's page for norovirus.

For those who are suffering from norovirus, the NHS recommends drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, taking paracetamol to ease headaches and fevers, getting plenty of rest, eating plain foods, and for adults, taking antidiarrheal and anti-vomiting medicine.

It should be mentioned that norovirus has no specific medicinal cure, and it cannot be treated with antibiotics since it's a viral infection, not a bacterial one, notes NHS. The most important risk factor to consider is severe dehydration, as it may cause hospitalization if not treated immediately.

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