GARDEN CITY, Kan. -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed that the Norovirus is to blame for sickening hundreds in Garden City.
The illnesses were linked back to the Jimmy Johns restaurant in Garden City and affected diners who ate at the restaurant between December 10 to the 24. The restaurant voluntarily shut down from the 24-26 to undergo a special cleaning and disinfection process.
No new illnesses have been reported since the restaurant reopened, according to the KDHE. Authorities say the restaurant fully cooperated with the KDHE, the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Finney County Health Department, during the investigation.
A total of 282 causes of Norovirus were reported. Norovirus causes gastrointestinal illness, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and low-grade fever.
It is very easily passed from person to person or through food that has been contaminated during preparation. The virus notorious for causing large outbreaks.
The number of people who became sick after eating at a western Kansas restaurant has nearly tripled since initial information was released earlier this week.
By Monday, 40 people had reported being ill after eating at a Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches restaurant in Garden City. As of noon on Friday, the number of cases has grown to more than 110.
Those who became sick ate at the Jimmy Johns location on December 11 or after. The Finney County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are still contacting diners by phone and an online survey to determine who else might have been ill.
The symptoms have included diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and muscle aches.
D. Charles Hunt, State Epidemiologist at KDHE, believes the outbreak was caused by norovirus which causes similar symptoms as well as low-grade fever. Norovirus is easily passed from person to person or through food that has been contaminated during preparation. If often causes large outbreaks, affecting a large percentage of persons who were exposed.
Members of the public who need to contact local health officials about the outbreak can call the Finney County Health Department at (620) 272-3600.
An online survey has also been developed for anyone who ate at the Garden City Jimmy Johns restaurant between December 10 and December 24, even if they did not become ill. The survey can be accessed by clicking here.
Previous story - Monday, December 23, 2013:
Dozens of people have become ill after reportedly eating at the same western Kansas restaurant.
More than 40 cases of gastrointestinal illnesses have recently been reported to the Finney County Health Department in Garden City.
The health department is working to find the cause of the illnesses, but say it's associated with eating at a Garden City Jimmy Johns restaurant. Those who became sick had eaten at the Jimmy Johns location on December 11 or after.
The symptoms are much like the stomach flu and include vomiting, diarrhea and fever, and in some cases, joint and muscle aches along with fatigue.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment along with the Kansas Department of Agriculture are also looking into the illnesses.
The health department asks that anyone who has become ill with these symptoms after eating at the Jimmy Johns on December 11 or after to call (620) 272-3600 and speak with a staff nurse.