Eating good in the neighboorhood? Not this week. As of Thursday afternoon, 19 employees and 13 customers have reported stomach flu-like symptoms after visiting Applebee's in Delta Twp.
"Because of symptomology, time of onset and duration, we're pretty sure it's a norovirus," says Barry-Eaton District Health Department's Stephen Tackitt.
Tackitt says norovirus is the leading cause of food illness. It's a fecal virus that is easily spread in a number of ways, and it's symptoms are anything but comfortable.
"Vomiting and diarrhea [are the tell-tale signs]. You may have one or the other, but usually both together," says Tackitt.
Health officials don't yet know what caused the norovirus outbreak. Applebees closed on Tuesday and re-opened only Thursday after having cleaned the entire restaurant top to bottom twice. Tackitt says at this point it is completely safe to eat there.
"They have thrown all the food away that any of the employees could have contaminated, and they have washed and rinsed the entire facility. The virus has been killed," he says.
Tackitt warns if a person's been ill, he or she should avoid preparing food for 72 hours after your symptoms have passed. And when caring for a person with norovirus, use a diluted bleach solution to clean up after them. Perhaps most importantly, those ill with norovirus should stay home from work for a couple of days.
"It's highly contagious in the sense of being airborne. We don't know how to break that chain."
The health department says the norovirus most likely was in Applebee's anywhere from Nov. 18 through the 28th. The most common way norovirus is spread is from people not washing their hands.
If you are sick and think it could be from the Delta Twp. Applebee's, please call Barry-Eaton District health officials at (517) 543-2430.