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43 sickened in 'norovirus-like' outbreak in Seattle

The King County Health Department says 43 people, including 11 employees of Brave Horse Tavern, have reported getting sick with norovirus-like symptoms.

The King County Public Health Department is investigating Brave Horse Tavern after learning of a "norovirus-like illness" outbreak. 

A total of 43 people have reported getting sick, including 30 people from five meal parties who had food and drinks at Brave Horse Tavern on Nov. 23 and 24, health officials said. 

Eleven employees of the South Lake Union tavern also experienced symptoms consistent with norovirus dating back to Nov. 24. Two employees also had two household members with symptoms dating back to Nov. 20. 

Norovirus symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, chills, and fever, according to the health department. 

Environmental Health investigators went to Brave Horse Tavern on Nov. 27 and the restaurant closed for a thorough cleaning and disinfection, health officials said. 

All of the ready-to-eat foods processed before the restaurant was disinfected were thrown out. The restaurant management also voluntarily did a thorough cleaning and disinfection of Trattoria Cuoco, a neighboring restaurant under the same management, which shares freezer space with Brave Horse.

Brave Horse Tavern was approved to reopen on Nov. 29. 

The Health Department said they do not have laboratory results for the people who got sick, and often in norovirus outbreaks no lab testing is done. 

Health officials said the symptoms of those who got sick are "suggestive of norovirus."

Investigators provided the tavern information about preventing the spread of norovirus, including proper handwashing and preventing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. 

Brave Horse Tavern is owned by Tom Douglas, who owns multiple restaurants in the Seattle area. 

The restaurant managers said in a statement Wednesday they have been working with the Health Department to help stop the potential spread of the illness. 

They also said in part: 

Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of our guests, our staff, and our community and our quick reaction to this incident shows our company’s desire to take the risks to our customers and staff seriously.

We are extremely proud of the professionalism and overall concern demonstrated by our management team and staff. We strive to take care of each guest, each meal, every day. We eat here, our families eat here and we take food safety very seriously. We feel we have demonstrated this through our consistent high Health Department scores for not only this restaurant but all of our restaurants.

Brave Horse Tavern has set-up a dedicated toll-free phone line for those who may have questions or issues. We encourage our guests with questions to reach out to us at 877-394-4149.