Mexican restaurant El Toro in Tacoma’s Westgate neighborhood reopened Tuesday following a suspected norovirus outbreak.
The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department closed the restaurant Monday (Jan. 8) to investigate foodborne illness reports.
The first two reports were filed Friday (Jan. 5) and another was reported Monday, said Edie Jeffers, communications manager for the health department.
Following news reports of the suspected outbreak, a total of 101 diners now have reported an illness following a trip to the restaurant at 5716 N. 26th St.
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“The patrons ate a variety of meals, but all had chips and salsa,” the health department reported.
Diners who became ill reported they experienced symptoms between 24 to 36 hours after dining at the restaurant some time between Dec. 31 and Jan 8. The illnesses lasted between one and two days, Jeffers said.
The health department believes the suspected norovirus spread to diners from two infected employees who worked while ill.
The virus is extremely contagious and can live for days or weeks on surfaces, and those who become ill can be contagious for up to two weeks after recovery. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea and in some cases fever and headache.
People who became ill after recently dining at El Toro are asked to call 253-798-4712 or make a report online on the health department’s website.
Prior to reopening, El Toro “followed sanitizing and cleaning procedures and other preventative measures,” the health department said.
An employee reached at the restaurant Tuesday said, “Right now we have no comment and the issues have been taken care of.”