Stomach Bug Tied to Restaurants, Harford Health Department Says

The investigation into stomach sickness continues.

Dining out may be linked to a stomach sickness in Harford County.
Dining out may be linked to a stomach sickness in Harford County.
The Harford County Health Department said a recent stomach sickness going around may be linked to dining out.

The illness is "...what we believe at this time to be a restaurant-associated outbreak of gastroenteritis," Harford County Health Department spokesman William Wiseman told The Baltimore Sun.

Gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea and fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is highly contagious and may be transferred by contact with an infected person, eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Most who fell ill in Harford County had eaten at "one or more restaurants over the previous few days," Wiseman told The Aegiswhich reported officials would not disclose the restaurant(s) as they awaited lab results from stool samples.

The health department continues to investigate the cause of the sickness. Wiseman encouraged people to contact the Harford County Health Department if they come down with symptoms.

Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly told WBAL that while the department was looking into "a restaurant associated with gastroenteritis outbreak," reports of the sickness are on par with previous years.

"...what we're seeing in Harford County is really consistent with what we have seen in the past years," Kelly said.

The Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air told WBAL that it was seeing five to 10 cases of gastroenteritis daily in its emergency room, a standard number for the season.

Spread of gastroenteritis tends to rise during cooler months when people are inside, according to the Centers for Disease Control's Division of Viral Diseases. Outbreaks may occur in institutional settings.

Last Friday, after more than 200 people came down with a stomach sickness at an Alexandria elementary school, officials closed the school to disinfect the building.

Frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent the spread of gastroenteritis, according to health officials.

Joyce Paxton March 18, 2014 at 05:08 PM
I worked at a restaurant where the ceiling was leaking and the water was coming down on the food being served. Right over the exit. The food was served any way. How sanitary can that be ? This restaurant had a manger who had his hand in the tile and he could not anything about his employees . He did not want them squealing on him. So they did as they please and they did to the food as they please. HAVE A GOOD DAY.
Virginia oquinn March 18, 2014 at 08:43 PM
I think the public has a right to know the name of the restaurant if it is spreading illness. Some peoples immune system is already compromised and they will always be sicker. How can you take s chance. It shouldn't be that hard to test the food.
Becky Z March 19, 2014 at 08:10 AM
I spoke to someone who did get sick last week. I asked: Where did you eat? He said Subway. Tuna salad.
Jen Riley March 30, 2014 at 07:07 AM
I got sick but after eating at looneys in maple lawn Howard county


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