Health department: Norovirus believed to be cause of illness outbreak at Chipotle in Va.

- The Loudoun County Health Department said norovirus is believed to be the cause of an outbreak that cause over a hundred of customers to become ill after dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Sterling.

Health officials said Monday that a second person has tested positive for the same strain of norovirus. More than 135 people reported getting sick after visiting the Chipotle restaurant in the 21000 block of Tripleseven Road between July 13 and July 16.

“Based on symptoms reported and these preliminary laboratory results, the cause of the outbreak is believed to be norovirus, though the specific source of the norovirus has not yet been identified,” said Loudoun County Health Department director Dr. David Goodfriend in a news release. “The Health Department is not aware of any customers becoming ill since the reopening of the facility last Wednesday.”

The outbreak caused the Sterling location to temporarily close down for cleaning and sanitization after symptoms were reported by customers.

This is the latest health scare for the restaurant chain as they have been plagued with issues over the past couple years. In 2015, Chipotle suffered an E.coli outbreak in several states in 2015.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans gets sick from contaminated food each year,” said the Loudoun County Health Department. “Norovirus (sometimes called "stomach flu") is the most common cause of foodborne illness. People infected with norovirus usually develop symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus and most people who are ill get better within one to three days. Frequent hand washing and staying home when sick are two of the most important means of preventing the spread of infection. More information on norovirus is available at www.cdc.gov/norovirus.”

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